Alan Pardew will not subject himself to another transfer window of fretting over Demba Ba if he remains a Newcastle player at the end of next month.
When the January transfer window opens on Tuesday next week, the £7.5m release clause in the 27-year-old striker’s contract becomes active once again.
That has already sparked a flurry of speculation, just as it did during the summer, that he will leave the St James’ Park outfit, for whom he has scored 27 goals since his arrival in June 2011.
The clause was not triggered during the close season and, having failed in their attempts to negotiate it out of his deal since, the Magpies are not prepared to deal with the uncertainty once again should he stay.
Pardew said: “Really and truly this window is the key, I think, because if Demba goes in this window, it will cause us a problem.
“I think he will stay, but there’s a possibility he could go because of the clause that’s still in force.
“In the summer, I won’t let it run until the summer. I’ll do something about it.
“We will either move Demba on or we will secure him in the summer.”
Pardew is understandably keen to retain Ba’s services, and the Senegal international, who has been linked with Saturday’s Barclays Premier League opponents Arsenal, Ligue 1 club Paris St Germain, as well as QPR in recent weeks, has repeatedly spoken of his happiness on Tyneside.
However, there is little doubt that other parties are interested in brokering a move and Newcastle know matters will be taken out of their hands if the relevant bid is made as a result of the complicated deal they negotiated when they signed a man who had failed a medical at Stoke several months earlier.
Asked if Ba had given him the impression he wanted to stay, Pardew said: “Always.
“Some of the speculation that runs around him – yesterday he was asked about his home-town club, PSG, would he like to play for them one day, and he said yes, of course.
“That’s now a headline that he’s going to play for them next week. The media kind of fuel it and I understand that, that’s part of their business.
“But for our part, he has always put out for us, he has scored more goals than anyone else for us, he is playing well and that’s what I have to focus on.”
Ba is one of three senior frontmen currently on the books at St James’ Park, along with compatriot Papiss Cisse and new Nigeria international Shola Ameobi.
Senegal have not qualified for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, but Nigeria have and Pardew’s insistence that Ameobi will not be going to the tournament has prompted the country’s FA to warn they are ready to invoke FIFA regulations, just as their Senegalese counterparts did with Cisse earlier this season.
The Magpies, however, are attempting to resolve the issue and are confident they will do so.
Pardew said: “It’s something we are trying to clear up with the authorities there, and I don’t really want to say anymore than that.
“We seem to have two different messages coming out. We should hopefully clear that up over the next couple of days and have a more definitive answer for the media before the start of next week.”
The nightmare scenario for Pardew would see both Ba leaving and Ameobi rendered unavailable, leaving him with just a single striker, although he does not expect that to happen.
He said: “No, I don’t think that will happen. We have obviously got a scenario where we have got to protect ourselves.”
Pardew was today still coming to terms with yesterday’s heartbreaking 4-3 defeat at Manchester United with the debate over opposite number Sir Alex Ferguson’s conduct towards referee Mike Dean and his assistants continuing.
Pardew admitted he was surprised not to see the Scot reprimanded at the time, but was relaxed about it 24 hours on.
He said: “I think Mike Dean might feel slightly disappointed he didn’t do something about it. The pressure that was one him was tough to take for a referee.
“It’s an emotional game. Apparently they had a cordial discussion. I have had a few of them myself, but sometimes I have ended up in the stand with that cordial discussion.
“But anyway, it’s gone now, it’s irrelevant to me.”