Magpies begin search for Ba replacement

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will target power and pace as he looks for a replacement for Chelsea-bound Demba Ba.

Newcastle vs Swansea: Demba Ba, Ashley Williams

The 51-year-old conceded defeat in his efforts to keep the Senegal international at St James' Park last night after the Blues triggered the escape clause in his contract with a £7million bid, and is now looking to plug the sizeable gap the striker will leave behind.

Marseille's Loic Remy is at the top of his list, although as ever, the deal is far from straightforward.

However, Pardew, who last night admitted Ba and former strike-partner Papiss Cisse were not a natural combination, is hopeful of finding a man to complement the former Freiburg marksman.

He said: "I would like, if possible, to have a player with real power and pace. Sometimes, we lack a little bit of pace.

"(Gabriel) Obertan brings that to the team, but when Gabby is not in the team, that's something I would like to see in the player that comes in because that will help Papiss, and also somebody who is going to threaten at set-plays because it has been a weakness for us.

"But it's easy to say what I would really like - it's what I can get in this window and the options are not numerous. There are only a few players, really, who are available."

Pardew was due to meet managing director Derek Llambias and club secretary Lee Charnley this afternoon to discuss the way forward as Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy underwent his medical on Tyneside with a view to completing a £5million switch from Lille tomorrow, although he will not be available for Saturday's FA Cup third round trip to Brighton.

However, the manager warned that while the club's need is great, their financial model will govern what they are able to do.

He said: "The money is tight here in terms of how we spend it. We try to get the best possible deal for the club.

"But we do have to take into consideration where we are. We are under no illusions that we are now in a battle to secure our Premier League status for next year, and we make no bones about that.

"The trick really is to get our best players on the pitch, we know that, but in the short term, one or two reinforcements would go a long way to helping."

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Pardew had only five members of what would be regarded as his strongest XI available to him for last night's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Everton with Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Ba all missing, and the situation will not be improved my midfielder Cheick Tiote's departure for the African Nations Cup.

The 26-year-old left a club in rude health when he met up with his Ivory Coast team-mates 12 months ago, but this time around, leaves behind a relegation fight rather than a charge for Europe.

Tiote said: "It's not like last year because we have lost too many players. Everyone wants to win games.

"I will be missing for five games, so it's not as long as last season. I will be back as soon as possible to help the team and to make the fans happy, because they deserve to be happy."

Ba's imminent departure will rob the Magpies of their main goal threat, but Tiote is philosophical about the Senegal international's exit.

He said: "That's football. If you play with someone and he scores in every game, you expect him to move and that's happened to Demba.

"I am happy for him because he deserves to go to a top club. Now we have to focus on us."

Meanwhile, Everton boss David Moyes was able to reflect upon another good night's work and the return to prominence of striker Victor Anichebe, who came off the bench to win last night's game with a 60th-minute strike.

Moyes said: "He has got a goal in him and I have always said he can make a big contribution.

"He needs to believe in himself a little bit more. I think the crowd's reaction to him is better, the Everton crowd, which will help."



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