With the transfer window opening today Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has hit out at the network of people surrounding Demba Ba, with his future on Tyneside becoming the subject of frenzied speculation.
Representatives of the 27-year-old Senegal striker held talks with Chelsea on Sunday night, which were later described as unproductive, with the £7million release clause in his Magpies contract due to become active again today.
Pardew and his club can do little about the situation, but the manager is growing increasingly weary of it. He said: “In some respects, I feel a little bit sorry for Demba as well because I think people who are representing him are not actually representing him.
Newcastle have spent recent months attempting to negotiate a new contract with Ba which would remove the clause and that remains on the table. However, Pardew insisted it would not do so indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Pardew revealed the Magpies are yet to formally complete a deal for Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy, but confirmed that Danny Simpson, the man he could replace, would be missing for several weeks after breaking a toe during Saturday’s 7-3 defeat at Arsenal.
Chelsea have launched the pursuit of Ba because of their need of reinforcements up front, considering Daniel Sturridge is on the brink of completing a move to Liverpool, leaving them with Fernando Torres as their only recognised senior centre-forward.
Their hopes of landing one of the most sought-after finishers around, Radamel Falcao, before next summer have seemingly been dashed, but they have been linked with the likes of David Villa, Alvaro Negredo, Andre Schurrle and Bafetimbi Gomis.
Metalist Kharkiv’s Taison, Marouane Fellaini and Corinthians’ Paulinho are also said to be targets, while Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun and Marko Marin may be loaned out or sold altogether.
Today could also see Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole open negotiations with foreign clubs over a pre-contract, with both currently set to leave on free transfers in the summer.
That also applies to Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and, as well as reopening talks with the England star, Arsene Wenger’s side are reported to have tabled a £10million bid for Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez.
The Gunners have also been linked with Barcelona’s Villa and another loan move for Thierry Henry but could offload more players than they bring in, including Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Andre Santos, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci.
Harry Redknapp may prove to be the most active manager in the January market. Liverpool misfit Joe Cole continues to be heavily linked with a loan move to Loftus Road, although Redknapp insisted last week no contact had been made.
QPR are also eyeing Nicolas Anelka and defensive reinforcements but may need to hold a fire sale first.
Carlo Cudicini could lead an mini-exodus from Tottenham, with the goalkeeper set for a fresh start in America with LA Galaxy.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas has claimed he will not be active in the market, although Willian, Fernando Llorente and Loic Remy continue to be linked with White Hart Lane.
Manchester City, said to be competing with Chelsea for several players, may, despite manager Mancini’s insistence, be forced to sell before they can buy, with Mario Balotelli, Joleon Lescott, Edin Dzeko and Kolo Toure among those touted to leave.
Arch-rivals Manchester United look set to maintain their policy of doing little business in January, although they could sign someone with a view to them arriving next summer – such as Robert Lewandowski.
Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha has been linked with both United and Arsenal and has now gone public with his desire to move on.
Sturridge could be joined at Liverpool by Tom Ince, although manager Brendan Rodgers has seemingly ruled out signing Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has also been linked with Southampton.
Rodgers will continue his attempts to offload expensive flops Cole, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Sebastian Coates.
Everton appear determined not to lose Fellaini or Leighton Baines but an unsettled John Heitinga could be shown the door, with Paris St Germain striker Kevin Gameiro one possible target.
West Ham are also interested in Anelka and may dip into the loan market amid their injury problems.
Aston Villa could sell Darren Bent and Charles N’Zogbia to help fund moves for City striker John Guidetti, possibly on loan, and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk midfielder Derek Boateng.
Fulham will try to sign someone but may also cash in on Brede Hangeland, who has still not signed a new contract.
Wigan are set to complete a loan move for United striker Angelo Henriquez and have been linked with former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou and City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim.
Norwich could sign Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith and a goalkeeper, while Southampton have been linked with Cagliari defender Davide Astori.
Sunderland may make Danny Rose’s loan move permanent as well as signing Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist, Swansea have been linked with Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas and Braga’s Ederzito Lopes and Stoke will try to bring in one or two players while holding onto Asmir Begovic and Ryan Shawcross.
Reading have secured the services of Sporting Lisbon defender Daniel Carrico, the Portuguese club have announced.
The 24-year-old Sporting captain will be out of contract in June and, according to the Primeira Liga outfit, will join Reading next month in a €750,000 deal which includes a sell-on clause for a future transfer.
Arsenal’s Andre Arshavin has also been touted for a move to Reading.
West Brom appear satisfied with their squad, presuming Chelsea decide not to recall on-loan Romelu Lukaku.
* Former Ireland striker David Connolly has joined Division One strugglers Portsmouth on a one-month deal. Connolly, 35, was released by Southampton in the summer.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved
More in this section