Blues close in on £7.5m deal for striker Ba

CHELSEA look set to complete the £7.5m signing of Newcastle striker Demba Ba despite suggestions last night of a row over cash between the player and his agents.

Ba’s camp are believed to be entitled to around £4m of the transfer fee, but were said to be at loggerheads over how the money was to be divided among the Senegal star and his coterie of advisers.

It was the second hitch in Chelsea’s attempts to sign the 27-year-old former West Ham forward, after initial talks foundered on Ba’s wage demands.

Blues chiefs yesterday tackled that obstacle by resuming talks with the player and offering a contract thought to be in the region of £70,000 a week, only for further wrangling to hold up the deal.

But Newcastle manager Alan Pardew revealed that Ba’s departure for the European champions was imminent.

“It’s done,” he said. “He will go to Chelsea with our blessing. He has done fantastic for us and it’s not a bad thing, all the uncertainty is now done and we can move on. This club is bigger than any player for sure.”

Ba was withdrawn from Newcastle’s squad for last night’s Premier League clash with Everton after Chelsea activated the clause in his contract allowing him to leave should any club bid £7.5m.

The Magpies have tried without success to tie Ba down to a new deal without any such clause, leaving manager Alan Pardew increasingly resigned to losing a man who has scored 29 in 57 games.

Chelsea’s swoop for Ba comes after England forward Daniel Sturridge completed a £12m move to Liverpool.

Ba’s proposed switch marks the high point in an unusual career that has included spells in his native France, Belgium, Germany and England. Having been rejected by Gillingham and Watford earlier in his career, Ba made his name with French fourth-tier side Rouen, before earning a move to Hoffenheim in an injury-hit spell at Mouscron.