West Ham owner warns Newcastle over Demba Ba


West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has warned Newcastle they could lose star striker Demba Ba for a pittance if they do not tie him to a new deal.

Sullivan knows from bitter experience just how painful that could prove after seeing the Senegal international leave Upton Park for nothing during the summer in the wake of the club's relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Now he is predicting that the Magpies, for whom Ba has scored 16 goals so far this season, could suffer a similar fate if they do not address the issue of the much-publicised release-clause in his contract.

Speaking to the website www.westhamtillidie.com, Sullivan said: "I'm told he's got a £7million get-out at Newcastle and he gets half the money over that.

"They keep denying it, but I think you'll see in the summer he will leave Newcastle, or he'll get a monstrous rise to stay there.

"If they get about £4million, half will go to him, so if they sell him for £7million, they'll only net about three because they paid his agent £2 million to get him out of here.

"Getting £3million is not bad, but for a player of his quality, it's not fantastic."

Ba joined the Hammers from German club Hoffenheim on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January last year after failing a medical at Stoke, with the Londoners agreeing to pay an appearance-related fee after an initial down-payment of 500,000 euros.

The club negotiated a clause under which his wages would be reduced by half if they were relegated, and he in turn secured an agreement that he could leave if they dropped out of the top flight.

Sullivan said: "It's one of those mistakes that happen, but it's probably one of the worst mistakes I have ever made in my life.

"It just didn't enter our heads. It didn't enter anybody's head that he'd score enough goals that we'd want to give him £40k a week and his old club £15-20k an appearance and we'd still be relegated.

"In reality, that's exactly what happened. The agent just threw it in at the last minute.

"He said, 'Obviously if his salary is cut by 50%, you've got to let him walk'. We thought, 'Okay, if we get relegated, do we really want a £40k-a-week striker in the Championship?'.

"Well, we would have because he was devastating. If he was with us now and his knee had held up - because remember, he did have a very, very bad knee - I think we'd be 15 points clear, I really do.

"He'd be cutting through those defences. You live and you learn."

Ba, who scored seven times in 12 league appearances for the Hammers, has been a huge hit on Tyneside.

After a slow start to his career in the north-east - manager Alan Pardew put that down to the effects of his observance of Ramadan - he announced himself in style with a hat-trick against Blackburn in September and has never looked back since.

He departed for the African Nations Cup early last month having added a further 12 goals to his account and marked his return after a disastrous campaign for his country in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon with the opener in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on February 5.

However in the meantime, talk of the release-clause had led to speculation that one of the Premier League's big boys could come calling, and that will inevitably resurface as the summer transfer window approaches.

Newcastle were relaxed at the time and with Ba having insisted since his return that he is happy at the club, which signed international team-mate Papiss Cisse last month, they will hope they can fend off any interest.

However, it would be no surprise if there was an attempt to renegotiate his contract in an effort to take the uncertainty out of the situation.


election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'