London: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted on Thursday that his club are powerless to keep Demba Ba if the Senegal striker wants to quit St James' Park.
Ba has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave if another team offers £7.5million and Pardew knows the former West Ham star could attract interest from several clubs during the January transfer window.
The 27-year-old, who has scored 11 times this season, was forced to deny reports this week that he had said it would be a dream come true to join Arsenal, while Liverpool are also said to be interested.
In the circumstances, Pardew is resigned to a month of worrying that one of his key players will be tempted away from Tyneside.
"It's unfortunate that the contract he has leaves open a lot of questions because we have this clause and every window that comes around, I have to answer the same questions," Pardew said.
"It would be disappointing for him to leave in this window for this club and for his team-mates here, but the decision will be his, ultimately, because that clause is there.
"The most important things we have got with Demba is he is someone who is a goalscorer and he is scoring goals, and that's very, very important to a side.
"His commitment to and work-rate for the team, I don't fault."