Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew could soon be searching for a new striker after Chelsea activated the release clause in Demba Ba's contract by making an offer of £7million.

The 27-year-old has been in sensational form this season, scoring 13 goals and being the one shining light as Newcastle have endured a terrible start to the season and find themselves close to the relegation zone.

Demba Ba
Demba Ba has begun talks with Chelsea over a proposed move from Newcastle. [Reuters]

Ba has scored 36 Premier League goals since arriving in 2011, a statistic that can only be bettered by Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, and it comes as little surprise that there is a firm offer from Chelsea.

The BBC has reported that Ba was given permission to speak to Chelsea as they look to find a replacement for Daniel Sturridge who joined Liverpool on Tuesday afternoon.

Chelsea were well aware of the clause in Ba's contract, which became active on January 1, and have moved quickly to begin negotiations with a striker who is said to be in high demand.

Should the west London club successfully complete a deal for Ba then Pardew will have some time to try and identify a suitable replacement. Newcastle have already been linked with French striker Loic Remy, while they were today linked with West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie.

Pardew had a similar problem two years ago when Andy Carroll signed for Liverpool but he was forced to wait until the summer to be able to find a replacement as the England international moved to Merseyside on the final day of the January transfer window.

This time around Pardew will have the best part of a month to try and find a suitable replacement; however, this will certainly not be easy as Ba was the top scorer last season and has scored half of the club's goals during this campaign.

Marseille forward Remy could well be a viable option with Newcastle previously having great success when signing players, such as Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, from French football.