Football: Demba Ba was on the brink of a move to Chelsea today after the Blues finally triggered the release clause in his contract.
The European Champions were given permission to talk to the 27-year-old Senegal international after meeting the £7 million figure stipulated in the deal he signed with the Magpies in the summer of 2011.
News of the bid is little surprise given that the Stamford Bridge side held talks with Ba’s representatives at the weekend.
The discussions were later dismissed as “unproductive,” but it now seems that Ba’s departure is imminent.
A Newcastle club statement read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player’s contract. The club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC.”
Ba’s exit clause had recently prompted an unsuccessful attempt by the Magpies to renegotiate his contract and prevent a repeat of the speculation that surrounded him during the summer.
But with the former Hoffenheim and West Ham frontman’s representatives reportedly trying hard to move him on — provoking the ire of Toon boss Alan Pardew earlier this week — Newcastle’s hopes of retaining the services of a striker who netted 16 goals last term and has bagged 13 this season always looked doomed.
The transfer will be financed by Chelsea’s £12m sale of Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool, which was confirmed today.
Brendan Rodgers has been pursuing the 23-year-old for some time, having first expressed his interest in the forward back in August.
And with Luis Suarez currently Liverpool’s only senior striker, Rodgers has swooped to make Sturridge his first signing of 2013.
“I am humbled and happy to be here,” he said.
“It’s a humongous club — for me, one of the biggest in the world — and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing.”