Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has conceded that there is little that he can do to prevent reported Arsenal target Demba Ba from leaving the club in the January transfer window.
Ba has a much publicized £7 million release clause in his contract, leading to continued speculation over his future.
"It's unfortunate that the contract he has leaves open a lot of questions because we have this clause and every window that comes around, I have to answer the same questions,” Pardew said, according to Sky Sports.
"It would be disappointing for him to leave in this window for this club and for his team-mates here, but the decision will be his, ultimately, because that clause is there.”
Ba, 27, has scored 11 Premier League goals already this season to add to the 16 he scored last term. Earlier this week, quotes from an interview the Senegal international gave to Canal+ caused a stir in England as he seemed to talk up the idea of a move to Arsenal. Despite Ba also appearing to criticize his manager’s tactics, Pardew has said that it was largely a case of mistranslation.
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"I have had to because it was quoted in England not correctly, and that's unfair on Demba and unfair on us,” he added.
"There will be no disciplinary procedure against him. There was one procedural matter where he could have informed us and should have, really, but that's neither here nor there.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is believed to be on the lookout for forward reinforcements to provide competition for Olivier Giroud. The need is only exacerbated by the fact that both Gervinho and Marouane Chamkh look likely to be heading to the African Cup of Nations next month.
The Gunners have also been linked to Fernando Llorente, who has confirmed that he will be leaving Athletic Bilbao when his contract expires next summer.
According to TalkSport, Italian publication Tuttosport has reported that Juventus will hold discussions with both Llorente and Bilbao next week over a cut-price move in next month’s transfer window. It is claimed, though, that the Italian champions will not offer more than £3.3 million for the 27-year-old, who would be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The reports come despite Bilbao recently stating that Llorente would not be leaving before the end of his contract.
Meanwhile, it would appear that Arsenal have missed out on the signing of Zambia international Stoppila Sunzu. Reports earlier in the week suggested that the TP Mazembe central defender, who can also operate as a holding midfielder, was on his way to the Emirates.
However, Sunzu, who claimed the African Cup of Nations with his country earlier this year, has now announced that he will sign with Reading, according to French publication L’Equipe.
Zambianfootball.com reports that Sunzu, 23, made the decision because Arsenal were eager for him to undergo a trial prior to completing a move.
Already reportedly with significant money to spend in January, Arsenal could raise further funds with the sale of some fringe players. Very much in that category is Andre Santos, who has endured a difficult time since his £6.8 million move from Fenerbahce in August 2011.
According to the Sun, the Gunners have rejected a £2.5 million bid from Galatasaray as they seek nearer to £5 million for the Brazilian left back.