The Newcastle United man was on the books at Watford before being released and achieving goal-scoring feats in France, Belgium and Germany prior to a move to West Ham. Now a potential big money target for Arsenal among many, some teams will be wondering what could have been if they had taken a chance on the Senegalese front-man.
He has become one of the first Premier League players to stoke up the flames of a January departure and after recently rediscovering his goalscoring form it is understandable that Demba Ba is attracting such widespread interest. The Senegalese striker has established himself as one of the league’s top marksman since arriving at West Ham in January 2011.
Despite struggling after the arrival of countryman Papiss Cisse after the African Nations tournament of January he has recently shot back into form with a double against Everton and the winning goal against Norwich.
He was linked away earlier in the year, when it was revealed a £7 million release clause was in his contract, but there was a deadline of July 31 to activate it. A lack of form at the end of last season may have been a blessing in disguise for the Magpies as Ba did not clinch a dream move to a Champions League club.
There were mischievious suggestions by his agent that he could be unhappy at being benched almost a fortnight ago stoked up the transfer talk again, although Newcastle were quick to deny the player would be moving on.
Yet while all this goes on there are a few teams in the country who will be smarting at the transfer rumours such as ‘Ba to Arsenal’ and the seemingly faultless transition to English football he has demonstrated.
Stoke City of course were well known to have agreed a deal to sign Ba but an irregularity in his medical was deemed too high a risk for The Potters who looked elsewhere. While that is understandable as Stoke did not want to take a risk on a player they felt may, in the long run, be a poor acquisition the actions of two current Championship clubs must have their fans shaking their heads and looking to the heavens thinking ‘what could have been’.
Firstly Barnsley had the chance to snap him up after he had already been rejected by Lyon and Marseille but decided to decline his signature while Watford went one step further. After a trial he was given a one-year-deal by Ray Lewington but when Aidy Boothroyd replaced him he released Ba, as he didn’t feature in his first team plans.
He moved to Rouen where he smashed home the goals, and a similar feat was achieved in Belgium with Mouscron before moving to German outfit Hoffenheim prior to West Ham, and the rest as they say is history.
While Boothroyd eventually went on to achieve some great deeds at Vicarage Road he now finds himself managing Northampton Town in League Two after mixed success at Colchester and Coventry. Ba on the other hand commands a six-figure-fee as one of the most feared men in the Premier League.
It is funny how things work out sometimes.
images: © joncandy