Chelsea have been given permission to approach Newcastle United striker Demba Ba after making an offer that triggered a release clause in his contract, Newcastle confirmed on Wednesday.
Chelsea can now open talks with the 27-year-old Senegal striker after meeting the £7 million ($11.4 million, 8.6 million euros) asking price stipulated in his contract.
Ba, who joined Newcastle in 2011, was subsequently withdrawn from manager Alan Pardew's squad for the 2-1 Premier League loss at home to Everton on Wednesday evening.
"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," Newcastle said in a statement.
"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 (Wednesday's) game against Everton."
Although Chelsea are yet to conclude a deal for Ba, Pardew expects the transfer to be completed shortly.
"It's done. He will go to Chelsea with our blessing," Pardew told Sky Sports, shortly before kick-off in the game against Everton.
"He has done fantastic for us and it's not a bad thing, all the uncertainty is now done and we can move on.
"This club is bigger than any player for sure."
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez refused to confirm his club's approach for Ba, but he did concede the European champions were in need of extra options up front.
"I have not spoken with our people so don't know the situation regarding Demba Ba," said the Spaniard, shortly after his side's shock 1-0 loss at home to bottom club Queens Park Rangers.
"Fernando Torres has been playing every game and you could see he was tired."
Ba has been a major success at St James' Park, scoring 16 league goals in his debut season and taking his total for the current campaign to 13 with a brace in the 7-3 loss at Arsenal on Saturday.
The Senegalese frontman made his name during a prolific four-year spell with German club Hoffenheim and joined English side West Ham United in January 2011 after a proposed move to Stoke City collapsed due to a failed medical examination.
He scored seven goals in 12 games for West Ham but left to join Newcastle after the London club were relegated at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Meanwhile, French right-back Mathieu Debuchy arrived in Newcastle on Wednesday to begin talks over a move to the club.
The 27-year-old Lille defender travelled to Newcastle after the two clubs reportedly agreed a fee for his transfer over the weekend.
"Signing Mathieu Debuchy is just a question of the medical really," said Pardew, after the loss to Everton.
"He has quality and experience and that is what we missed tonight."