Newcastle fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief – Demba Ba is going to be staying after all, as his £7 million release clause finally expired on Tuesday night.
The good news means a lot of things for the Toon, both on and off the pitch, so let’s take a look at how it will affect them moving forward.
First and foremost, this provides assurance that, for at least the next season, Newcastle will have two elite strikers in Ba and his Senegalese compatriot Papiss Cisse.
Newcastle’s attack was one of the Premier League’s best last season, and with Ba returning, we can be assured that it will be once again in 2012-13.
As the pre-season continues, manager Alan Pardew will now be able to experiment with his attacking unit without the worry of a key component potentially leaving. Considering how badly Ba struggled to find the net with Cisse alongside him last season, Pardew will need every minute of the pre-season to work out exactly how Ba can be used – because last season showed that the left wing definitely isn’t his natural position.
Most notably, the expiry of the release clause will impact Newcastle’s activity in the remainder of the transfer window.
After chasing Andy Carroll for the last few weeks, his return to Newcastle should now be out of the window, as it won’t be worth spending the £19 million that West Ham have offered for a striker who won’t be seeing regular first team action.
Instead, Newcastle will resort to a more reasonable striker range, and look for a back-up striker on the cheap to go along with Shola Ameobi on the bench.
Striker is definitely still a position of need, but Newcastle are no longer looking for a plan B for Ba’s potential departure.
Ryan Babel – who appears to be on his way out of Hoffenheim – is a great example of the level of player the Magpies should now be targeting, as the asking price for him is only £5 milion – a much more sensible price to pay for a super sub.
The extra money saved from not needing to go after Carroll should also help Newcastle in their pursuit for defensive help, as it will allow them to up their offer for Mathieu Debuchy.
Lille rejected their improved offer yesterday, stating that it was “not at the value of the player.” Now that they won’t be overspending on Carroll, they can offer something that is.
At the end of the day, this is great news for Newcastle. Ba had said repeatedly that he was going to stay, but with the clause still there it was hard to be 100% sure that he would. As fans, we can finally move on and ready ourselves for the season start this month, with Newcastle’s activity in the transfer window soon coming to an end.