Chelsea’s hopes of signing the Newcastle striker Demba Ba have suffered an early blow after unproductive discussions over his future.
It is understood that club officials met the 27-year-old’s representatives last night but that the deal on the table did not come close to meeting the level he considers would make leaving St James’ Park worthwhile.
However, while the Ba camp has indicated that the Senegal international does not now expect to be playing his football at Stamford Bridge next month, it is likely that the impasse represents only the initial skirmish in a battle which could run and run.
The Blues are among a series of clubs to have been linked with the former West Ham centre-forward, who scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season at Arsenal on Saturday, with the £7 million release-clause in his contract due to become active once again on Tuesday.
But the Magpies insist they are yet to receive a bid that would trigger that clause. The deal Ba signed when he joined Newcastle during the summer of 2011 was intensely complicated because of the condition of his knee – and they have spent recent months attempting to renegotiate it.