Tottenham set for Europa League meeting with £8m striker they should have signed

Spurs were linked with Demba Ba at several points during the Senegal international’s stay in the Premier League but he will now line-up for Besiktas.

Football is littered with numerous "what if" stories involving players who came close to embarking on altogether different careers in the Premier League.

Liverpool fans may live to rue the day the club failed to land Diego Costa while, for Arsenal, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo both came close to becoming Gunners prior to making moves elsewhere.

Tottenham have had their fair share of near-misses over the years, with Willian and Eden Hazard two of the more recent stars who opted to move elsewhere.

In those instances both players chose to cash-in with moves to Chelsea but it’s another former Blues star who could prove to be the biggest regret for Tottenham as they prepare to face Besiktas in the Europa League.

Linked with a move to White Hart Lane at several points during his time in the Premier League, Demba Ba ultimately opted to seal an £8 million switch away from England to the Turkish side this summer, thus depriving Spurs of the chance to sign the kind of striker they need.

Signed first by West Ham, it was with Newcastle United that Ba really shone, scoring 29 goals in 54 Premier League appearances.

Little wonder then that Tottenham were among the teams linked with a move for the then-Magpies man, who was available for as little as £7 million.

However, once again, Chelsea stepped in to gazump the Lilywhites’ bid to bring the African star to north London.

Fast-forward a year, however, and Spurs came agonisingly close to completing a deal for Ba in the final hours of 2013 summer transfer window.

With Blues boss Jose Mourinho evidently happy to sell the Senegalese striker to Tottenham, despite rebuffing similar advances from Arsenal, there appeared to be little standing in the club’s way this summer.

After all, Spurs were and remain in desperate need of goalscoring reinforcements with Roberto Soldado continuing to struggle, Harry Kane still developing and Emmanuel Adebayor under pressure to perform.

And despite spending a large portion of his time at Chelsea on the bench, Ba was still able to weigh in with important goals for the Blues when called upon. But just when it seemed like the stars were finally aligning to give Spurs the striker they needed, a move elsewhere materialised.

The 29-year-old has started well in Turkey too, scoring four goals in five European outings for Besiktas. What happened to Tottenham's bid? Were they put off by concerns over his knee, in the same way Stoke City were? The questions remain, alongside the sense of disappointment.

Another against Tottenham tonight could further compound the club’s failure to land the forward.

With him, Spurs could be dreaming of Champions League football next season, but without him it’s already looking to be another campaign of Thursday nights in the Europa League this time next year.

Here are some of Ba's best goals - should Tottenham have broken the bank for the striker?

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