Chelsea trigger £7.5m Demba Ba release clause
Newcastle striker left out of Toon squad as he begins talks with London club
DEMBA BA'S proposed move to Chelsea has moved closer after the Blues today agreed to meet the £7.5m release clause in the Senegal striker's contract with Newcastle.
The 27-year-old has also been left out of the Magpies squad to face Everton tonight as he begins formal talks over a move to Stamford Bridge.
The Daily Mail reports that Newcastle have tried to renegotiate the striker's contract without success, although an offer from the North East club remains on the table. Chelsea's interest first emerged at the weekend but the initial talks were said to be "unproductive", but now that the release clause has been triggered a deal looks likely.
With the transfer window barely 48 hours old, Arsenal have wasted no time in seeking to bolster their firepower upfront. According to the Daily Mirror, manager Arsene Wenger "has made an enquiry" about Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez.
The 24-year-old has been tracked by Arsenal scouts in recent weeks and the reports to Wenger have been favourable. Now the Frenchman must decide whether to trigger Lopez' s £14m buy-out clause or keep placing his trust in Theo Walcott up front.
It's believed Atletico are open to offers for the Spanish international as they look to offset financial problems, and would prefer to sell Lopez than the more prolific frontman Radamel Falcao.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail claims that Arsenal used their trip to St Mary's on Tuesday for more than just a point in a 1-1 draw with Southampton. Apparently the Gunners opened negotiations with Southampton over 17-year-old Luke Shaw, the highly-rated defender who comes with a £5m price tag.
In recent weeks the youngster has been linked to both Chelsea and Manchester City but the Mail says Arsenal have stolen a march on their rivals.
How successful the Gunners were in their initial discussions with the Saints is unclear. In the past, manager Nigel Adkins has insisted the teenager isn't for sale. But Arsenal have a track record of doing business with Southampton, having bought both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent years.
The Daily Star makes the astonishing suggestion that Alex Ferguson "will offer Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole the chance to join Manchester United". The two Chelsea veterans are out of contract with the Blues at the end of the season and the Star says Ferguson believes the pair still have several good years in the tank.
In recent years United have benefited from the wisdom of ageing playmakers Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and it appears Ferguson wants 34-year-old Lampard and 32-year-old Cole to pass on their knowledge to United's young players.
According to the Star, United have already approached Chelsea with a view to a January move but "Chelsea are unwilling to do business". If the Blues can't be persuaded to sell this month then Ferguson will bide his time and snap up the duo on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Elsewhere, Joe Cole is at the centre of an unexpected transfer tussle after his former club West Ham joined QPR in the race to sign the ageing Liverpool winger. QPR boss Harry redknapp expressed a wish to sign the former England man at the weekend, but now the East End club are also in the running and the Mail says they want to sign him by the weekend.
Finally, the Daily Mirror says Liverpool and Spurs are leading the chase for Dutch maestro Wesley Sneijder. The paper claims that the playmaker has been given the green light to leave Inter Milan, and though Manchester United were linked to the Holland midfielder last year it's Liverpool and the Lilywhites who are vying for his hand.
The Mirror says that Milan want to trim their wage bill and to that end will accept offers for Sneijder in the region of £10m, £4m less than they paid for him when they signed the 28-year-old from Real Madrid in 2009.