- Premier League
Pardew 'feels sorry' for Ba, hopeful striker will stay
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes there is still a good chance that Demba Ba will remain at the club, after warning the player that his agent might not be looking out for his best interests.
Ba, one of the Premier League's top scorers this season after notching 13 times already, could be set to leave the Magpies in January - as clubs reportedly queue up to trigger the £7.5 million release clause in his current contract.
On Sunday it was reported that a move to Chelsea was close, but follow-up stories on Monday indicated that talks between the two parties the previous evening had been "unproductive" - leading Ba's representatives to pursue other avenues.
Pardew has warned his star striker to be mindful of the possible motives of his agents, while confirming there is still a contract extension offer - one that would remove the release clause, but also amend the performance-related nature of his current deal - on the table that Newcastle would be delighted for him to sign.
"I feel bit sorry for Demba because the people representing him are not representing him. There are people out there fuelling it who are not involved," Pardew said. "The contract is what it is and as manager I want it to be resolved.
"There is a contract for him to sign and it is getting close to the point where we say no more, but the offer is still there. I want him to stay.
"It has been a saga since the summer and the way the contract was drawn up at the time means we can't get out of it, but I understand why it was that way at the time.
"I still think in this window he will stay because of the situation we are in, but that will be up to him.
"The contract terms have been bandied around which has not helped and people are getting involved who have no right to be involved.
"It is difficult for our fans because they love him and they want him to play in a black and white shirt - we look potent again."
Pardew remains optimistic that Ba will at least commit his future to the club until the end of the season, as Newcastle bid to avoid being drawn into a relegation scrap.
The former Southampton and Reading boss suggested the club deserved a show of loyalty after giving a player with a poor injury record - he was unable to pass a medical at Stoke prior to moving to the Premier League - a chance where others were reticent.
"One thing I don't have to worry about is Demba's mental state. He is one of the strongest footballers I have ever come across," he added.
"He had disappointments in his early career with bad injuries and the way some clubs treated him but he can have no complaints about how we have treated him.
"We have been brilliant for him. I hope he rewards us by staying for another couple of years."