Demba Ba may have been deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, but for Tottenham he could well have represented the ideal acquisition to help the club achieve a top four finish in the Premier League – and he showed just why this weekend.
The 29-year-old needs little introduction to Spurs fans, having been a regular goalscoring fixture of the English top-flight since 2011 and a short spell at West Ham that set the tone for what was to come.
Ba scored seven goals in 12 Premier League outings for the Irons, before moving to Newcastle United, where a further 29 goals in 54 top-flight games came.
It was here that Tottenham first showed interest in signing the Senegal international though the ex-Hoffenheim forward ultimately opted for Chelsea, where he performed reasonably well in a stop-start spell at the club with 14 goals in 51 competitive outings – many of which came as a substitute.
Spurs would get a second chance to recruit the former Magpies favourite last summer, with rumours suggesting that the African star was keen to remain in the capital with a move to White Hart Lane one possibility.
But Tottenham were beaten to the punch by Turkish giants Besiktas, who came in with a bid that not only met Chelsea’s £8 million price tag but the considerable financial demands of Ba himself, who had been on a sizeable wage during his spell at Stamford Bridge.
Hindsight in football is a wonderful thing, but on current form are Tottenham now wondering whether they should have broken the bank to bring the forward to North London?
The question comes after another Premier League defeat, this time to Stoke City, and another 90 minutes in which no Spurs striker has found the net in the English top flight.
Harry Kane remains a bright prospect for the future but with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor both seemingly heading to the exit door, Spurs are in desperate need of a goalscorer.
All of which will makes Ba’s form in Turkey that bit tougher to watch. The 29-year-old has hit the ground running both domestically and in Europe with 10 goals in his first 14 games for the club.
A brace against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday took his tally to seven goals in seven European outings, while that double was followed up with a fine goal in Besiktas’ 2-1 away win over Istanbul Basaksehir at the weekend – a goal that showcased the power and technique Ba possesses in abundance.
An expensive acquisition with a questionable injury record he may have been, but could Ba have been the man to turn Tottenham’s poor season into one that saw the club challenging for Champions League qualification?
If the clubs above and around Spurs continue with this kind of inconsistency, the answer may be yes.
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