Chelsea have emerged as the favorites to land Newcastle United striker Demba Ba during the January transfer window.

Demba Ba’s future at St. James’ Park has been in doubt ever since his £7.5m buy-out-clause was publicly revealed. In recent times Arsenal and Liverpool were linked with a move for the Senegalese striker along with French club PSG. But now it seems like Chelsea have stolen a march on the other clubs and can announce the deal in the first week of January itself.

ChelseaAccording to some reports, Ba is set for a medical at Cobham today. The Newcastle United striker is being seen as a direct replacement of Daniel Sturridge , who is headed for Liverpool. Demba Ba is expected to sign a £70,000-a-week contract and with his exploits in the league represents a value-for-money deal.

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez didn’t reveal anything in press about the deal. The Spaniard refrained from commenting on the negotiations that the two clubs are having currently, and according to reports, which has entered its final stages with Ba receiving a hefty ‘bonus’ from Newcastle.

“We do not talk about our business in public.

“He’s a player who plays for another team and I don’t like to talk about other players.” – Benitez was quoted in press.

Ba’s arrival might also signal that Radomel Falcao will not arrive at Stamford Bridge in January. Reports from Spain suggested that Atletico Madrid will hold onto the Columbian striker till the end of the season. But with Daniel Sturridge reportedly joining Liverpool in January, Benitez was left with very few options upfront.

Demba Ba has already scored 13 goals this season in 19 Premier League matches and at just £7.5m, the 27-year-old is a bargain Chelsea can be happy about. The Senegalese international has recently criticized Newcastle’s style of play in public (which didn’t go down well with his team mates and manager), but although he escaped any disciplinary actions from the club, his desire to leave was evident.

After his buy-out-clause became public, Alan Pardew tried to re-negotiate his contract in order to increase the buy-out-clause, but Ba refused to step into any talks. It was also evident that Demba Ba and Cisse didn’t complement each other well.

Last season, after Cisse arrived half way through the season, Demba Ba who was scoring goals left, right and center, lost his form as Cisse grabbed the lime light. This season, initially Ba was played out wide as Alan Pardew struggled to accommodate both the Senegalese international into his first team.

Ba’s agent publicly stated his client’s displeasure at being played in a wide role, since then the striker was moved to a central role and he found his goal scoring touch once again; but this time Cisse lost his. There is place for only one of them in the starting line-up, and with Ba’s refusal to re-negotiate his contract, Newcastle choose to let his leave.

At Chelsea it would be interesting to see how much playing time he acquires. He is expected to play second fiddle to Torres under Benitez, but he would certainly provide the Blues with lot of options from the bench. His goal scoring and finishing ability can never be questioned. All in all, it looks like a good deal for both the clubs.

For Chelsea it is a ‘value for money’ deal, while for Newcastle United, it might help in improving the atmosphere in their dressing room.