Newcastle lining up Dutch strike alternative

Newcastle United may have had a superb 2011-12 season but are now going through all of the ups and downs that come with the territory of challenging for a top four spot in the Premier League.

Sources suggest that a host of clubs are chasing the signature of Demba Ba and the Magpies are believed to have lined up Luuk de Jong as a possible replacement should he leave.

The FC Twente forward has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool and Arsenal in recent months but deals with those clubs don’t appear to be gaining much speed.

The supposed interest in Ba is largely down to the fact that a clause in his contract stipulating that the Senegalese international may leave the club for as little as £7m.

The north-east side have apparently been attempting to persuade the hitman to sign a contract where such a clause doesn’t exist but that task is proving difficult.

Ba has taken a backseat in the scoring since his compatriot and international attacking partner, Papiss Demba Cissé, arrive on Tyneside.

Before Cissé arrived at Newcastle, Ba had netted 15 goals and looking to be a contender for the season’s Golden Boot award. However, after he teamed up with his new strike partner, Ba took on the role of provider more than finisher and was limited to just one more goal for the remainder of the campaign.

As such, he may favour a move away from the Sports Direct Arena, especially should a Champions League side come calling.

De Jong, on the other hand, had a very consistent season where he netted 32 goals in all competitions for FC Twente.

The 21 year-old is set to travel with Holland to the Euro 2012 tournament and should the Magpies wish to get the goalscorer at the cheapest possible price, it would be smart of them to tie up a deal before his price soars after the competition.

Should de Jong leave the Dutch side, his signature is reported to be valued at around £14m.

Tom is a recent graduate with a degree in Broadcasting from Brighton University, having written for a variety of sports publications, as well as a keen football fan and season ticket holder.