Demba Ba believes competition for places will make him a better player, but history suggests otherwise.
“More competition is going to make me better anyway.”
Those were the words of Demba Ba when he was questioned about the possibility of Wayne Rooney joining him at Chelsea.
And yet as admirable as his statement was, it was also something of a contradiction. In the 2011-2012 season, Ba was in blistering form for Newcastle United, scoring 15 goals before the January arrival of Papiss Cisse. From that point on, Ba scored just once, with Cisse netting 13 times.
Suddenly Ba was no longer the main-man, and just as suddenly his goals dried up.
As with any fact there is a reason for it, and Ba may argue that he was suddenly used as a second-striker, a foil for his newly-signed countryman. But the simple fact is the moment there was competition for places, he lost his form.
He may have regained it last season, scoring 13 goals before his winter move to Chelsea, but once there he became almost as goal-shy as he was in the face of Cisse’s challenge.
And now he is adamant he wishes to remain at Stamford Bridge and fight for his place, that he and his teammates will all work in the same direction to achieve the club’s ambitions.
Admirable again, but perhaps foolish, because when given sole responsibility, when played regularly up front and told he is the main provider of a club’s goals, he does what he is told.
But as part of a collective of strikers – Ba is yet to show he can excel in such circumstances.
Perhaps Wayne Rooney will not join this summer, perhaps no new striker will. But as unlikely as that seems even then Ba has to compete with Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku, the latter a player destined to be one of the all-time greats if his current trajectory can be maintained.
So while Ba may believe that more competition will make him better, it hasn’t so far. And if that doesn’t change soon, something will have to.
Do you believe Ba has a future at Stamford Bridge? Can he be a regular and prolific striker for the Blues?
image: © Jason Bagley