Chelsea have been given permission to approach Newcastle United striker Demba Ba after making an offer that triggered a release clause in his contract.
The Blues can now open talks with the 27-year-old Senegal striker after meeting the £7 million asking price stipulated in his contract.
Ba, who joined Newcastle in 2011, was subsequently withdrawn from manager Alan Pardew’s squad for the Premier League fixture at home to Everton on Wednesday.
“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,” Newcastle said in a statement.
“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.”
Ba has been a major success at St James’ Park, scoring 16 league goals in his debut season and taking his total for the current campaign to 13 with a brace in the 7-3 loss at Arsenal on Saturday.
Although a deal for Ba has not been finalised, manager Alan Pardew has no doubt it will be shortly.
“It’s done He will go to Chelsea with our blessing,” Pardew told Sky Sports before kick-off against Everton. “He has done fantastic for us and it’s not a bad thing, all the uncertainty is now done and we can move on. This club is bigger than any player for sure.”
The Senegalese frontman made his name during a prolific four-year spell with German club Hoffenheim and joined English side West Ham United in January 2011 after a proposed move to Stoke City collapsed due to a failed medical examination.
He scored seven goals in 12 games for West Ham but left to join Newcastle after the London club were relegated at the end of the 2010/11 season. Meanwhile, French right-back Mathieu Debuchy was reportedly set to arrive in Newcastle on Wednesday to begin talks over a move to the club.
The 27-year-old Lille defender was expected to travel to Newcastle after the two clubs reportedly agreed a fee for his transfer over the weekend.