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CHN Thursday Links: Demba Ba Swaps Toon for Galatasaray (or not), Hatem Ben Arfa On Chelsea Radar

Yeah..  this does not suck.
Yeah.. this does not suck.

Apologies for the slight interruption in service, but back in the saddle again at full speed- You have certainly heard of 'arry's departure from Sprus by now. Remember back in January with the 'arry for England campaign and the Pardew to Spurs rumors that accompanied it? It's now like that a bit, except for now, 'arry can't get the England job and Pardew certainly can get the Spurs job. It goes without saying that if AP heads back to London, it will change the transfer landscape in a gigantic way. Like most Toon supporters, I am hopeful that AP does not leave, but I'm hopeful for a quick resolution one way or the other.

At any rate, time and the news tick on, so let's jump to the links!

DEMBA BA IS GONE!!1one!11!!!

Demba Ba Joins Galatasaray From Newcastle United?

Sky Italia are reporting that Galatasary have signed Newcastle United striker Demba Ba for a fee believed to be in the region of €11 million (around £9 million Euros). It is believed the Turkish outfit have activated Ba’s well publicised release clause, though the news of the fee is said to be £1.5 million more than the previously reported £7.5 million release.

I still have a feeling that Demba Ba will be on the Newcastle roster when the new season starts up (hinging, of course, on resolution of the Spurs' manager situation). It doesn't take much for large sections of the world to jump on a rumour, though. See next story for details.

Demba Ba transfer story dismissed | ITV News

Sky Italia and other digital sources in Europe today reported a deal had been completed to take the Senegalese striker to Istanbul for next season. The Magpies don't comment directly on individual transfer rumours. But the story gathered such momentum that club officials did give an off-the-record briefing, confirming there's no truth whatsoever in the reports.

Realizing that I could well be falling into the same trap here, I'm more prone to believing this than the other story. I'm not altogether certain where to fall in a battle between SkyItalia and ITV... and it does seem odd that the club would have an "off-the-record briefing" that is on the record... but there is no local confirmation of the story at this point, so I'm going to stay with "unlikely". (Sky Tyne and Wear have reported the rubbishing of these claims as well... so I guess that's local... sort of.)

The Business Of Newcastle

Huge TV cash boost for Newcastle and Sunderland - Local News - Shields Gazette

Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said he believes the size of the new collective deal – a 70 per cent increase – will help England’s top clubs compete on the European stage against rivals who benefit from selling their own broadcasting rights. He said: "The way this money is divided between all the clubs means our smallest clubs are able to take on the big clubs. In our league, that happens more than anywhere else. "As long as we can still have the teams in the bottom three beating teams in the top three frequently enough to happen every season, then we have a compellingly competitive competition.

I assume that someone smarter than myself would have no problem sorting through all of this and figuring out exactly how much more money this is going to mean for Newcastle United (and the scum... spit), but I can figure out this: On the heals of last year's successful season, this reworking of the deal has come at a tremendous time as we should figure to be televised at least as many times as last season if not more which by most rights contracts that I've heard of means more £ for Newcastle and Mike Ashley. (The quote I selected is probably not the best, but was interesting to me as this type of issue was instrumental in the recent conference realignment in college sports in the US)

Newcastle United fans set to travel more miles this season - NUFC News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

THE Toon Army travelled over 3,000 miles to support their team last season - more than any other set of fans. That distance will increase even further next season thanks to European matches and the fact the three promoted clubs are further away than those sides they replaced in the Premier League. And club bosses have been urged to offer more tickets to Newcastle fans who have moved away from the North East and are spread across the country. The respected fans website Bootiful Game’s think tank worked out that the Black and White army clocked up 3,093.16 miles last season, a figure that is sure to be dwarfed in the 2012/13 campaign.

Who has the best fans in the world? I think we know that answer. Despite the travel demands and split focus between domestic and European competitions, we all know that the Toon Army will show up and support the club no matter what happens.

Targets (Ours and Others')

Twente urge Magpies to move fast (From The Northern Echo)

De Jong would be a strong candidate to come in and replace striker Demba Ba, who has appealed to a number of clubs because of the release clause he is understood to have in his contract. The Holland striker, who is at the European Championships with his country, is one of the hottest prospects in the Eredivisie after scoring 25 goals in 33 league appearances and would not come cheap. The 21-year-old is regarded at around £10m, with Tottenham and Benfica among those considering a bid. Douglas, a centre-back, and Rosales, a right-back, on the other hand, would arrive at a lot cheaper price. Both have been recommended by chief scout Graham Carr and are interested in moving on from Twente ahead of next season.

The Luuk De Jong rumor is one that intrigues me... we really need a striker that is not going to be gone for the entire month of January. The price tag, of course, concerns me... but at the same time, we spent somewhere in the region of £10m for Papiss Cisse at age 26... so £10m for a 21-year-old striker that couldn't stop scoring in the Eredivisie may not be out of the question after all. This is not to ignore, however, that we are still desperate for a CB.

Hatem Ben Arfa is Chelsea target | Mail Online

Chelsea have already acquired Marko Marin and Eden Hazard to bolster their attacking midfield options but Newcastle's twinkle-toed Frenchman is next. Blues representatives have approached Newcastle to enquire about the player and Chelsea believe they can procure him for around £18million - although Newcastle will demand more than £26m.

I don't have much to say on this as it's a very early stage of the rumor... but I do want to say this- I believe that this would be a drastic move for HBA. Based only on what we've been able to witness in the time of his association with Newcastle United, I don't think that Chelsea are an environment in which he will be able to thrive. I could be wrong... but ehh... I don't think so.

There’s no place like home for Newcastle United’s Cheik Tiote - Sport - Shields Gazette

"I like living in Newcastle, very much," Tiote told the Gazette. "It is a very simple life for me. "I am at home with my family and I can just chill some days for the whole day. But when I want to go out and do some stuff, I can do that as well. "People here are more friendly than aggressive, so life is all right for me here." Tiote is one of a number of Francophone players in Alan Pardew’s squad, but the Ivory Coast international – who played for his country in their 2-2 draw against Morocco last weekend – insists there aren’t any cliques in the dressing room.

Don't get me wrong... I enjoy the European Championships. It has come a poor time for those of us that are keeping an eye on the Transfer Market this summer, though. I love to see "I am happy here" stories and when you combine those with activity or lack thereof in the market, it's easy to get excited about a player such as Cheik staying. The fact, of course, remains that most of the business is going to occur after the Euros... so we still sit and wait and wonder.