Demba Ba laughs off rumours of Newcastle United exit and expresses delight at Papiss Cisse signing

The Senegal striker made a successful return to club action with a goal against Aston Villa and insists he is staying put with the Magpies following rumours of a January exit

Newcastle United striker Demba Ba has laughed off rumours that he is set to leave the club, insisting he is happy with the north east outfit.

The attacker scored in his first appearance for the Magpies since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, his 16th goal in his last 17 showings for Alan Pardew’s side.

Ba arrived on a free transfer last summer from Championship outfit West Ham United and has since become one of the signings of the season but, with a minimum release-fee clause in his contract of just £7 million, it was feared the Senegal striker would leave for a big money move.

However, the forward claims this is far from the truth saying he is happy to contribute to Newcastle’s encouraging campaign.

He told reporters: "I never talked to anyone to say I wanted to leave. I was just listening to people saying: 'He's going there, he's going there, he's going there' and I had a big smile on my face. It was funny to me.

"The most important thing is being happy with your football and I am happy here.

"I look at the table and think 'Fifth? Woah!" We just need to continue our road, continue doing what we're doing this season and see where we are in the end.

"We need to keep our focus but as long as we do that, we'll have some very good games. I don't want to talk about exactly where we'll finish because it depends on a lot of things but as long as we keep going we'll be a dangerous side."

Pardew’s latest signing Papiss Cisse scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday to mark a highly successful debut performance, and Ba is delighted to have his fellow countryman on Tyneside.

He said: "It was a great signing. I was very happy when he signed. I wasn't too bothered who we signed as long as we got a new striker it would help us. But fortunately for me it was someone from my country who I know well and I know how good he is.

"He talked to me before he signed a little bit. I just said to him 'Go on - sign'. He asked everything about Newcastle - how were the supporters, the club. I've not told him everything because I want him to see for himself what it is like here.

"But he's going to see it now. He loved the reception he got."

The 26-year-old also revealed he was happy for Cisse to don the famous No. 9 shirt, saying: "The manager asked me if I didn't mind it going to him. I said just give it to him if it helps to sign him.

"I have told him everything about the number nine shirt but I have also said it is just a number.

"It doesn't matter if you score or you don't score, it's just a number. And as for the fee - he doesn't chose to pay it or demand that it is paid, it is the club that decides it so if something bad happens - which I hope it doesn't - it will not be down to him.

"He is a very quiet guy. All the fuss and hype will not affect him."

With Senegal losing all three of their opening games of the Afcon, Ba endured a poor campaign in Africa and said he was pleased that he and international team-mate Cisse can put that behind them in Newcastle.

He continued: "It was the perfect return to Newcastle for me - the goal, the victory. And not too much snow! So it was a good day.

"I am really happy for Papiss. I thought he tried really hard and he'd already had a couple of chances to score before he actually did it.

"It's really important to score for a new club early - when you come in and score right right away you feel much better. It helps a lot so I'm really, really happy for him.

"It was a goal of real class. He's actually right-footed but he showed that it doesn't matter if the ball comes to him on his left or on his right, he's going to hit it.

"I think the Senegalese are even happier about it than us! I guess there are lots of Senegalese Newcastle fans now."