Newcastle United have released a statement this morning indicating that Chelsea FC have triggered the release clause in the contract of Demba Ba, and will now begin negotiations to agree to terms with the player. The statement reads as follows:
Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player's contract. The Club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included in the squad for tonight's game against Everton.
Personal terms could still take some time, as we saw with Gary Cahill about this time last year. It does look like Ba is the most likely target to replace Daniel Sturridge now though, and hopefully a deal will get done as soon as possible. It would also appear that Ba will not be eligible for the Newcastle FA Cup tie this weekend, meaning he'd not be cup tied in either of the domestic cup competitions should he join Chelsea.
There is still plenty to be done before Ba signs, but assuming the club and player can come to terms, there is little reason to believe Demba Ba won't be joining at some point this month.