Chelsea have been given permission to approach Newcastle United striker Demba Ba after making an offer that triggered a release clause in his contract, Newcastle confirmed on Wednesday.
Chelsea can now open talks with the 27-year-old Senegal striker after meeting the £7.5m ($11.4 million, 8.6 million euros) asking price stipulated in his contract.
Ba, who joined Newcastle in 2011, was subsequently withdrawn from manager Alan Pardew’s squad for the Premier League fixture at home to Everton on Wednesday evening.
“Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player’s contract,” Newcastle said in a statement.
“The club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included in the squad for tonight’s (Wednesday’s) game against Everton.”
News of Ba’s imminent signing comes on the same day interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez admitted he is keen to bring in a new striker to ease the burden on Fernando Torres.
The club’s record signing has started every league game for the Blues this campaign, and despite showing signs of recovering his best form since Benitez took charge, there are some who still believe he would benefit from competition.
Indeed, Benitez himself admitted as much in an interview last week and he now insists Torres understands what he will not be a guaranteed starter all of the time.
“We are trying to manage the team so when I can change Fernando I will do it,” said Benitez. “We will try to manage him and hopefully we can do things properly. He wants the team winning games and he understands that is the way so he will accept this.”
Liverpool have also confirmed the signing for our 23-year old striker Daniel Sturrige for a reported £12m. A statement on their website said,
The 23-year-old becomes our first signing of the January transfer window after penning a long-term contract at Melwood today.
Afterwards he told Liverpoolfc.com of his joy at sealing the deal.
“I am humbled and happy to be here,” said Sturridge.
“Brendan Rodgers said he sees me here for a long time – and I also see myself here for a long time. I’ve not signed here to play for a couple of years and then move on.
“I’ve signed to be here for as long as possible. It’s a humongous club – for me, one of the biggest in the world – and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing.”
Sturridge began his professional career at Manchester City, where he finished top-scorer as City lifted the FA Youth Cup in 2008.
In 2009 he signed for Chelsea where he established himself as one of the best young forwards in the country, firing 24 times during his stay at Stamford Bridge.
His form at Chelsea led to full international recognition at the age of just 22.
Having scored 21 goals in 34 appearances for England at youth level, Fabio Capello handed him a senior bow in a friendly against Sweden in November 2011.
He has collected three more caps since and last summer scored twice for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.