Pardew hopeful of keeping Ba

Pardew and Ba
Pardew believes it's 50/50 whether Demba Ba will stay or leave Newcastle. Photo: PA

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is refusing to give up hope of persuading striker Demba Ba to stay at St James' Park.

The 27-year-old is expected to be included in the squad for tomorrow night's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton despite mounting speculation that he will leave Tyneside during this month's transfer window.

However, asked if he expects Ba to remain a Magpies player, Pardew said: "I still think it's even whether he will stay or go.

"In this window, I would like to think he will stay in the situation we are in. But that will be probably his decision."

Pardew has already indicated that, should Ba not leave this month, he will be sold during the summer if he refused to sign a new contract which erases the controversial £7million release clause which has caused the club such consternation in recent months.

Efforts to negotiate a more straightforward deal have so far come to nothing, and Pardew has warned the former Hoffenheim man that while that offer is still on the table, it may not be there for too much longer.

He said: "The situation with that is that it's getting close to the point where we say 'no more', but the offer is still there."

The speculation surrounding Ba has gathered pace in the last 48 hours after it emerged that Chelsea had held talks, later described as "unproductive", with the player's representatives.

Newcastle have grown increasingly frustrated with the network of people surrounding the Senegal international, and that details of his contract have become public knowledge.

Pardew said: "The difference is that the contract terms have been widely put around, and that's been our problem, and as I say people getting involved who perhaps have no right to be involved because of that situation.

"It has been difficult - it's difficult for our fans because they love Demba and they want to see him in a black and white shirt.

"He is scoring goals for us and offensively, we look potent again, which is god news for us, so ideally he stays."

As well as retaining Ba's services, Pardew is keen to add to his existing squad and that process seems certain to start in earnest later this week with the completion of the club's long-standing pursuit of Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy.

Pardew, who saw the 27-year-old eventually slip through his fingers during the summer, will take nothing for granted until he sees the France international at the training ground, but he has left owner Mike Ashley in little doubt as to what he is hoping for this month.

He said: "Defensively, we are so short. We need some defenders and I have given my message to the board.

"They have got that loud and clear, I think, and we hope to see somebody sooner or later."

Meanwhile, Pardew remains adamant that striker Shola Ameobi will not be joining up with the Nigeria squad for the African Nations Cup.

He said: "The situation with Shola is I still don't think he will be at the African Nations, and I think that's right for everyone."