NEWCASTLE United are growing increasingly confident of keeping Demba Ba on Tyneside - and want him to form part of a new look strike force with Luuk de Jong next season.
United have tabled an offer of around £8million for de Jong – a bid that falls far short of FC Twente’s valuation of the forward. The Journal understands they have told interested parties they want £15million for the Holland striker, and hope to spark a bidding war.
A senior United source claimed the club are ready for hard negotiations with the Dutch side and will bid again, but that doesn’t mean the end for Ba in a Newcastle shirt.
United want to keep the Senegal striker and sounded a bullish note on Tuesday, with senior sources claiming the striker is going nowhere.
The club’s optimism is probably based on the surfeit of clubs that have been prepared to follow up initial interest in Ba, who has been offered to top clubs across the Continent by representatives working on his behalf.
Tottenham had a firm interest that ended with the departure of Harry Redknapp while Galatasaray publicly distanced themselves with a move for the forward over the weekend. There are options in the Middle East for the striker but he is understood to want to stay in a major league – and has told those close to him that he wants the uncertainty resolved by the time he returns for pre-season training.
United know that they can take nothing for granted and remain concerned about the possibility of losing him. But have been strong hints from figures at a high level at St James’ Park that he may yet be persuaded to stay.
If he does, there is the possibility of United having three international forwards to pick from next season after they formalised a long-standing interest in Twente’s de Jong.
He is understood to be in favour of a move to Tyneside but sources close to the deal said there was still a long way to go before Newcastle clinched the transfer.