Newcastle's spectacular final position for the 2011/12 Premier League campaign was built on the back of the goal-scoring form of their Senegalese strike duo of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. The pair, between themselves, notched up 29 league goals to ensure the Magpies finished fifth and be guaranteed a place in next season's Europa League.
The duo's form has brought them attention from some of the bigger clubs, both within England and on the continent, with Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid all being linked to one or both of the strikers.
However, all has not been well between the two and the club, with reports of tension, particularly between Ba and the club, cropping up regularly. An earlier IBTimes UK report suggested Ba could look to force his way out of the Sports Direct Arena, for as little as £7mn (the release clause in his contract) after declaring himself unhappy with being shifted out to the wing following Cisse's arrival at the club in January.
A report in the Daily Mail suggests Harry Redknapp's Tottenham are leading the race to sign Ba. Spurs could find themselves woefully short of striking options for next year, given that Jermain Defoe's future at White Hart Lane is uncertain and a permanent deal involving Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor (on loan from Manchester City) is still nowhere near finished. If neither of the aforementioned two were to stay at Spurs, then Ba could be a very attractive (and importantly, cheap) option.
Meanwhile, Ba's team mate Cisse, who joined the club in a £10mn switch from Bundesliga side Freiburg, has confirmed he has no intention of leaving Newcastle despite reported interest from Spanish champions Real Madrid. Cisse has scored 13 goals in 14 league games since joining the club.
"I am very happy in Newcastle and I want to stay there for many years. I am looking forward to next season. We were close to a Champions League position so next season hopefully we will qualify for that and everyone will taste the Champions League," the 27 year old striker said, in a report by The Sun.
Nevertheless, reports concerning a possible move for Cisse continue to swirl around, with the Daily Mail suggesting both Manchester clubs, annoyed at having lost Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard to Chelsea, will be gunning for the Senegalese.
Meanwhile, yet another member of manager Alan Pardew's side is being linked with a move away - French midfielder Yohan Cabaye. The 26 year old joined the club from Ligue 1 side Lille and has been in excellent form since then.
"At Newcastle we will play in the Europa League. The atmosphere is already huge at St James Park with us in the Premier League and it seems stronger now we're in Europe," Cabaye stressed in a Goal.com report, while also admitting it took time for him to settle in to the Premier League.