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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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Magpies hope to seal Ba deal

Newcastle United are closing in on a deal to sign West Ham United striker Demba Ba, who arrived on Tyneside on Thursday to begin negotiations.

• Nolan signs for West Ham

Ba, who scored seven goals in 13 appearances last season, was relegated with the Hammers and this activated a clause in his contract that allows him to speak to other clubs.

The Senegal international would become manager Alan Pardew's second summer signing after French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, and his arrival might go some of the way to easing the disappointment of skipper Kevin Nolan's move to Upton Park.

However, it will take further signings to placate fans disgruntled at then club's stance over the likes of Nolan and Joey Barton.

Newcastle are also closing in on Swansea full-back Neil Taylor and are actively pursuing a series of other targets with Tranquillo Barnetta, Mevlut Erding and Blaise Matuidi among the men in their sights.

But having already told Alan Smith and Nile Ranger that they can leave St James' Park, the Magpies are also ready to listen to offers for Republic of Ireland striker Leon Best.

The 24-year-old, a £1.2million signing from Coventry in February last year, scored a hat-trick in his first Premier League start for the club against West Ham on January 5, but injuries have not helped him establish himself as a genuine option.

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