Football: Alan Pardew cut a dejected figure at the end of this rip-roaring encounter and his mood will only have worsened with Chelsea set to swoop for his prized asset, Demba Ba.
Pardew would be powerless to stop the striker leaving, as the 27-year-old has a minimum fee release clause inserted into his contract, with the figure of £7.5 million likely to be easily met by the Stamford Bridge club.
Ba’s representatives were due to meet Chelsea today, with the west Londoners keen to boost their attacking options as they look to mount a serious assault on the Premier League title.
On Saturday Ba scored twice against Arsenal, with whom he had also been linked. However Gunners manager Arsene Wenger ruled out a move for the player at his pre-match press conference last week and, even if that statement was a red herring, he would be unable to compete with Chelsea when it comes to the player’s wage demands.
Wenger’s primary concern remains retaining the services of Theo Walcott, who scored a hat-trick here, as well as creating another two as Arsenal put a tiring Toon side to the sword.
The Frenchman insisted that money is not the sticking point and insisted that Walcott would not be allowed to leave in next month’s transfer window.
“My desire is to extend his contract and I think he belongs here. Hopefully we can do it,” Wenger said.