Testing times ahead for Demba Ba and Newcastle United

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NEWCASTLE United face a two-month battle to hold on to striker Demba Ba.

Ba’s £7m release clause can be activated today until July 31, according to one report.

And renewed speculation of a bid from Tottenham Hotspur, emanating from the capital, for last season’s leading scorer will be of concern to Magpies manager Alan Pardew.

Ba is the Newcastle player Pardew feels is most vulnerable to a summer sale. Other players – among them sought-after midfielders Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye – have given assurances that they do not want to leave Tyneside.

What’s more, the club would only bank around half of the release clause, with the rest divided between Ba and his representatives, among them his brother. That would leave Pardew with little money for a replacement.

Ba’s release clause was revealed by Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp in January, though he wasn’t looking at a bid in the last transfer window, with his focus instead on a summer move for the 16-goal player.

Redknapp is reportedly unwilling to stump up £10m for Emmanuel Adebayor – who spent last season on loan at White Hart Lane – while former Newcastle striker Louis Saha is set to be released by Spurs after just five months at the club.

Pardew, meanwhile, has hailed Hatem Ben Arfa’s club and country renaissance – then backed Sylvain Marveaux to follow his example.

Ben Arfa was this week named in Laurent Blanc’s France squad for Euro 2012. The forward returned to the international fold after an absence of almost two years after hitting form for Newcastle United.

“It’s brilliant - I’m absolutely delighted for Hatem,” Pardew said.

And Pardew is hopeful Marveaux, signed on a free transfer last summer, will be back to his best next season, just as Ben Arfa was last term.

“(International football’s) also a target for Sylvain Marveaux,” said Pardew. “He’s seen that Hatem’s come back from long-term injury and made the France squad.

“Hopefully, it’ll be the same with Sylvain. That’s the next project for him.”