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Ba asserts that he is free to move

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 21 Jun 2009

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Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba has contradicted his own club by claiming he is now free to join Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart.

The Senegalese striker met with Hoffenheim bosses Ralf Rangnick and Jan Schindelmeiser on Thursday and it appeared he had been told to stay after general manager Schindelmeiser emerged saying he was “not interested in selling Demba”.

But Ba told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper: “They agreed that I can go.

“They are obviously not happy about it, but they said they would do nothing more to stop me.

“I want to play in the Champions League. Stuttgart and Hoffenheim will now meet to resolve the transfer.”

Stuttgart have already expressed their desire to sign Ba, but they cooled off their interest when Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp pronounced him not for sale at any price.

Depending on who they listen to, Stuttgart may now revive their interest with a bid in excess of 10m euros for a man who scored 14 goals in his debut season in the top flight last year.

Ba remains their number one target to replace Mario Gomez, who they sold to Bayern Munich for over 30million euros this summer.

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim appear to have won the race to sign Argentinian midfielder Franco Zuculini from Racing Club for a fee in the region of 5m euros.

According to reports in Argentina, the deal will go through next week when the player arrives in Germany for a medical.

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