Newcastle United striker Demba Ba has opened the door to a possible move to Arsenal in January. The 27 year old Senegalese international was effusive in his praise of the north London club, calling the Gunners a club that "makes you dream".
Ba moved to St James' Park in 2011 and has scored 27 times from 55 appearances for the Magpies. And 2012/13 has been a particularly impressive year for the African, so far, with 11 goals from 16 starts in the Premier League.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with the striker, amid a fresh set of reports over the £7m release clause in his contract with Alan Pardew's club. However, Ba's comments seem to leave no room for doubt - he does seem to be issuing a come-and-get-me plea to Arsene Wenger and the Emirates.
"Arsenal are one of those teams who makes you dream. I have nothing to say about those speculations. Nothing has happened. The media know Arsenal need another striker and they know about my release clause. They need to make their own mind up about it," the striker told French media outlet Canal+, as according to the Daily Mail.
Newcastle had a brilliant first season back in the Premier League last year, finishing fifth and ensuring a spot in this year's UEFA Europa League (they have now qualified for the tournament's knock-out stages). And much of that success was down to the goals provided by Ba and his compatriot, Papiss Cisse.
It was understandable then that a number of clubs registered an interest in the striker's services, with rumours linking high-profile clubs in the Premier League and on the continent. And the possibility of a transfer seemed very likely earlier in the season, when reports of rifts between Ba and Pardew began circulating. At the time Ba complained of not enough playing time and comments made by an agent, Alex Gontran, quoted by the BBC, warned Newcastle of limiting the striker to appearances off the bench.
Arsenal Striker Woes
Meanwhile, the Gunners have been strongly linked to a number of striker targets in recent weeks, with speculation suggesting Wenger is still looking to plug the hole left by Dutch striker Robin van Persie. The former Arsenal captain and last season's top goal scorer with 30 strikes, van Persie transferred to rivals Manchester United in the summer.
Wenger did sign a trio of forwards to replace van Persie, with Spanish, French and German internationals Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski arriving in London. However, while the three have done reasonably well, they have not managed to hit the highs of a van Persie-led Arsenal, either individually or collectively. As a result, the club have been linked to forwards like Atletico Madrid's Adrian Lopez and Norwegian international Mohammed Abdellaoue, among others.