Chelsea seem to have wasted no time this January, opening talks with the Senegalese striker after agreeing to pay his £7 million release clause, but is it a wise move?
Demba Ba made no secret of his desire to leave St James Park this window, and the move to Chelsea that now could go through will likely be exactly what he had in mind.
The striker will receive the high wage boost he asked of Newcastle, and will have a chance to compete for the Premier League this year, and in all likelihood the Champions League next season. However the deal could end up backfiring for the striker if he struggles for playing time, and both clubs could also end up losing out.
Newcastle clearly don’t want to sell Ba in the first place, and only allowed Chelsea to talk with their striker after his minimum fee release clause was met. They have lost their main goalscorer, and will likely have to spend more than the £7 million they received for Ba to do so. Pardew’s side will also now rely heavily on Papiss Cisse, though if he replicates his form from this stage of last season that won’t be an issue.
Chelsea have signed a proven Premier League goal scorer, but it will be interesting to see if they can get the same returns from Ba that he delivered at Newcastle and West Ham. The striker won’t be a guaranteed starter, and cannot rotate with Torres in Europe as he is cup tied in the Europa League. Chelsea also risk knocking Torres’ confidence just as he was showing some form, which might have been worthwhile if they had signed someone of Falcao’s standard, but is Ba good enough to merit unsettling Torres? There is also the ever present risk of Ba’s knee problems resurfacing, and Chelsea could end up paying the striker his large wages to sit in the physio’s room.
Finally Ba might get his big payday at Chelsea, but he will no longer be a guaranteed starter for his side, and could find himself competing even to be second or third choice if Chelsea sign another striker in the summer and bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.
Perhaps Ba will be a sensation at Chelsea, and elevate his performances even further when surrounded by the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. However there is an element of risk to this deal for all involved, and Newcastle could even end up the most satisfied of the three parties.
images: © Tom Cuppens,