Ba: I'm here to stay
Newcastle United striker Demba Ba insists he is happy on Tyneside and is not looking to leave the club.
Ba, 26, has scored 16 goals in 17 games for the club since joining on a free transfer from relegated West Ham and has been linked with a transfer elsewhere but insists he wants to stay and partner Senegalese compatriot Papiss Demba Cisse up front.
"I never talked to anyone to say I wanted to leave," Ba said. "I was just listening to people saying: 'He's going there, he's going there, he's going there' and I had a big smile on my face. It was funny to me.
"The most important thing is being happy with your football and I am happy here. I look at the table and think 'Fifth? Woah!' We just need to continue our road, continue doing what we're doing this season and see where we are in the end.
"We need to keep our focus but as long as we do that, we'll have some very good games. I don't want to talk about exactly where we'll finish because it depends on a lot of things but as long as we keep going we'll be a dangerous side."
Ba also said he helped to persuade Cisse to join Newcastle and has every confidence the £9 million striker can build upon his impressive debut, when he scored against Aston Villa, and be a big signing for the club.
"It was a great signing. I was very happy when he signed. I wasn't too bothered who we signed as long as we got a new striker it would help us. But fortunately for me it was someone from my country who I know well and I know how good he is.
"He talked to me before he signed a little bit. I just said to him 'Go on - sign'. He asked everything about Newcastle - how were the supporters, the club. I've not told him everything because I want him to see for himself what it is like here. But he's going to see it now. He loved the reception he got."
News of Ba's commitment will be highly reassuring for Newcastle's fans given their club's reputation for selling their best players since being bought by Mike Ashley in 2007. In that time, Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka, James Milner, Joey Barton, Damien Duff, Shay Given and Jose Enrique have all left the club.