Demba Ba has signalled his intent to leave West Ham after the London club were relegated from the Premier League by activating a release clause in his contract.
The 25-year-old only signed for the Hammers in the January transfer window, but made an instant impression as he bagged seven goals in just 13 appearances.
However despite his efforts West Ham were unable to avoid the drop, and now the Senegalese international has issued a “come and get me” plea to Premier League clubs after walking away from Upton Park.
Both Everton and Sunderland are said to be interested in bringing Ba back into the Premier League having been impressed with his clinical finishing last season.
However one sticking point for both clubs could be the forward’s wages, with the player said to be holding out for more than his current wages of around £45,000 a week.
The news that Ba turned down an offer of £50,000 a week from the Hammers will not sit well with his suitors, with Everton likely to be unable to offer a similar amount.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is said to be monitoring developments meanwhile after publicly admitting to being an admirer of the former Hoffenheim striker. The former West Ham boss is still in the market for a replacement for Andy Carroll, who left for Liverpool in January, and with the £35 million fee the Reds paid for the striker pledged by owner Mike Ashley to be used to sign new players, the Toon would be able to afford his wage demands.
Following the departure of Darren Bent to Aston Villa and Danny Welbeck’s return from loan to Manchester United, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is desperate to add some firepower to his side and avoid a repeat of his side’s disastrous form that saw them tumble away from European qualification after the departure of Bent in January.
David Moyes meanwhile will be seriously concerned about the long-term fitness of main goal threat Louis Saha, who missed the final eight games of the season for the Toffees with an ankle injury. The Frenchman bagged ten goals before his season came to an abrupt end, and Ba is seen as a like for like replacement should the 32-year-old endure another injury-ruined season.
Having signed for West Ham on a pay as you play deal following a spate of knee injuries that had earlier scuppered a move to Stoke, Everton may also be put off by his medical record, but was named as the side most likely to sign Ba by an unnamed executive at West Ham.