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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 8 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 10, 2007

Newcastle pay off unwanted Babayaro

Injury-plagued full-back Celestine Babayaro has played his last game for Newcastle.

The 29-year-old defender and the club have reached an agreement to pay up the remaining months of his contract, which expires at the end of the season. Babayaro has not played for the Magpies since the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City on March 31 through a succession of hamstring and back problems, as well as a lack of form. That means manager Sam Allardyce, who replaced Glenn Roeder at the end of the last campaign, has never been able to call upon him and has had to field winger Charles N'Zogbia at left back for much of the current season with £6.5million summer signing Jose Enrique still adapting to life in the Barclays Premier League. However, with Damien Duff now nearing a return to full fitness as Allardyce plans for the January transfer window - he has has once again been linked with Manchester United's Wes Brown - his options on the left are starting to increase and Babayaro is simply surplus to requirements after a difficult three years on Tyneside. The Nigeria international, who played Champions League football for Anderlecht as a teenager, arrived at St James' Park in January 2005 in a £1million switch from Chelsea as Graeme Souness looked to strengthen his back four. However, he was rarely able to produce his best form on a consistent basis and never really won over the club's fans. But he earned their applause in February when he turned out for the club in their 2-1 league win over Liverpool, after which Roeder revealed that his younger brother David had died just hours earlier.