Newcastle striker Demba Ba has been granted permission to speak to Chelsea after the Stamford Bridge club triggered the striker's £7m release clause, according to the Daily Mirror.

The European champions will hold discussions with Ba this evening after Newcastle confirmed that Chelsea had matched the valuation in Ba's contract.

As a result, the 27-year-old will not feature for Newcastle against Everton in tonight's match at St James' Park.

A statement on the Newcastle club website said: "Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player's contract.

"The club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included in the squad for tonight's game against Everton."

It is believed that Ba has a clause in his contract that became active on January 1, allowing a club to hold talks with the player if they matched the £7m valuation.

The Senegalese international signed for the Magpies in 2011, and has been a huge success on Tyneside - he currently leads the club's goalscoring chart with 13 Premier League goals this term.

Chelsea are thought to be keen to sign a striker in the transfer window, as Rafa Benitez only has Fernando Torres to chose from as the club's sole recognised senior striker at Stamford Bridge.

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