West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has warned Newcastle they could lose star striker Demba Ba for a pittance if they do not tie him to a new deal.
Sullivan saw the Senegal international leave Upton Park for nothing during the summer in the wake of the club's relegation from the Barclays Premier League. Now he is predicting that the Magpies, for whom Ba has scored 16 goals, could suffer a similar fate if they do not address the issue of the much-publicised release-clause in his contract.
Speaking to the website www.westhamtillidie.com, Sullivan said: "I'm told he's got a £7million get-out at Newcastle and he gets half the money over that. They keep denying it, but I think you'll see in the summer he will leave Newcastle, or he'll get a monstrous rise to stay there."
He added: "If they get about £4million, half will go to him, so if they sell him for £7million, they'll only net about three because they paid his agent £2 million to get him out of here.
"Getting £3million is not bad, but for a player of his quality, it's not fantastic."
Ba joined the Hammers from German club Hoffenheim on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January last year after failing a medical at Stoke, with the Londoners agreeing to pay an appearance-related fee after an initial down-payment of 500,000 euros.
The club negotiated a clause under which his wages would be reduced by half if they were relegated, and he in turn secured an agreement that he could leave if they dropped out of the top flight.
Sullivan said: "It's one of those mistakes that happen, but it's probably one of the worst mistakes I have ever made in my life."