Demba Ba: do we really want him at Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood
Demba Ba was turned down by Gillingham, and Swansea, according to press reports.  Plus Le Havre, Lyons, Auxerre, and Amiens.  Watford gave him five months.  Stoke agreed transfer from Hoffenheim but didn’t see it through because they thought he had a knee injury.  In fact reports suggest that no one will insure his knee against further injury because of a previous operation.
It was Rouen who gave him a chance, and turned him into a goal scorer.  Now every transfer window that opens, the name of Demba Ba is there, not least because for some odd reason I can not fathom he has a £7.5m release clause in his contract.  How did he manage to get that?
The early set backs, the way he overcame them, his recent record, and the odd release clause, all mean he looks a bargain except…
Apparently in addition to the release fund, he also has an agent who is demanding £2m.    And we must remember that when West Ham wanted to give him away in 2011, even the free transfer had all sorts of hidden deals inside it, that meant that he actually cost Newcastle something like £5m.

So even though the knee issue could be overlooked since he has only been out with injury 6% of the time with Newcastle, there is a lurking problem of the “others” – the hangers on who make money by insisting that they somehow work for the player.

Demba Ba can score: 36 goals in the League for Newcastle and West Ham in 66 games.  So even at £7.5m plus £2m add on fees, he looks cheap.  (West Ham having let him go now  have to pay Liverpool much more than that for Carroll who is on loan at WHU)

Now we are told by those who claim to be in the know that Chelsea have pulled out of the deal to sign him.   Why was that?  Injury worries?  Agent fees?  A salary demand of £3.64m per annum – which is probably less than Theo is being offered?   Or just brinkmanship?
But then what are Chelsea doing playing that game?  They have the money, and the odd million here or there won’t make any real difference to their problems in meeting FFP.

The latest news is that Arsenal are bidding for the player – which seems strange in that Chelsea can out-bid us any time they want.   The reason players come to Arsenal at the moment is to work with Mr Wenger and have a stable club, rather than one that changes managers on a regular basis.  But I doubt that Demba Ba’s agents think like that.

Pardew at Newcastle has made a few statements about loyalty, and the need for Demba Ba to stay with the club to show the fans he is loyal.  But you know that when anyone talks about loyalty these days, all the cards have been played.  Pardew has also said, “I think he needs, in this window, to make a decision fairly early. I think for everyone’s sake, most of all himself. Especially for our fans – they need to know he’s going to be with us to the summer or not. We need to know as well, we need to make sure that we have a replacement ready if he leaves.

“He needs to give a message of some description. We’re in an important stage of the season for us. We had a terrible result against Arsenal, we need to turn that around.”

Newcastle really do have a bit of a problem though. Andy Carroll went to  Liverpool on January 31 2011, although for an insane amount of money.  They then bought a much cheaper, but as it turns out much better, player, and players today, as we well know, show no loyalty.  They should not have been taken by surprise.

Pardew complained that, “I think people are representing him who are not actually representing him,” which is fairly good.

Do we want Demba Ba?  Well, as a player yes.  I thought he played well against us last week.   But we must always remember that he will do the same to Arsenal as he is currently doing to Newcastle.

The books…

The sites…

55 Replies to “Demba Ba: do we really want him at Arsenal?”

  1. who wants to have a player who celebrates his goals as a muslim prayer?? I certainly don’t… plus the guy ain’t worth it…

  2. BG you only let yourself down with that comment. Do you also dislike the players that point to the sky followed by a few hail mary’s?

    If a player scores for my team I’m happy with however they celebrate. I’m usually too busy jumping around to notice what they’re doing tbh.

    I don’t want Ba because of the ACoN, and the fact that he’s very similar to Giroud. So why bother. Adrian Lopez would be better suited in my opinion.

  3. Who cares whether hes Muslim, Catholic or Jew? As long as he keeps banging in the goals, he would enhance any top side.
    I agree the knee injury is a worry, but surely a contract can be drawn up to allow for said injury?
    Demba Ba wont be signed by us I think, and to me thats a mistake, unless his demands are ridiculous. Would we have drawn last night with Ba on the field? He is a talismanic player, an inspiration to the team around him. He would be an amazing signing for us, if we could cover ourselves somehow against his dodgy knee.
    Sadly, we will probably end up with a promising kid, an unlnown, or nobody.
    We are crying out for a striker and a strong central midfielder, and if we dont get them in, I fear our season may be more disappointing than it has been already.

  4. Wambam-
    Ba isnt going to ACN, and Lopez has forgotten how to score.
    Ba can do it all.

  5. BG you are an absolute prick.

    what’s his religion got to do with it? he is a footballer you racist cunt.

    a very good one who would improve Arsenal and is certainly a better goalscorer than Chamakh, Park and Giroud.


  6. No, the reason players come to Arsenal is because they’ll get relatively highly paid compared to their actual ability and the added bonus that under Mr. Wenger they won’t be under any pressure to actually deliver as he’ll always find excuses for them.

  7. It doesn’t matter if he was turned down by Gillingham or Watford, he’s banging in the goals for Newcastle now and he got 2 at the Emirates a week ago. The reason he has the £7.5m clause in his contract is because Newcastle signed him for nothing, due to him having a relegation release clause in his West Ham contract. If you’re wanted and available for nothing then you have quite a bit of bargaining power to insert a few clauses to suit yourself.
    Despite the goals and the relatively low transfer fee this story is a no goer. Since he failed a medical at Stoke a few months ago there is a pretty big chance he’d fail Arsenals stringent medical exam. Arsenal aren’t going to take a £7.5m gamble when they already have Giroud, Walcott and Podolski who can play through the middle.


  9. Ba does not go to the ANC as Senegal failed to qualify against Ivory Coast.

    Probably if Ba comes he will get injured on his knee and we will have him on a 4 year contract and he will be injured all the time.
    the people will moan about us being stupid enough to have bought him and will moan about how stupid Wenger and the board are.

  10. BG ….
    am arsenal fan and am a muslim … if you dnt like players like Ba coz he is a muslim … then we don‘t like fan like you…..

    one gooner one people

  11. Glad I’m not the only one who would take displeasure in Allah-bows every time a goal is scored. If I’m not allowed to dislike something someone does, then why are you allowed to dislike my disliking?

    I have no doubt he is a good player and I’m sure he’ll be a good signing for the club that buys him.

  12. I still think its worth signing him and protecting ourselves inside the contract if we can – there could be a settlement fee in case of injury, release due to injury, performmance based incentives etc.
    It would be a complicated purchase, but there are goals in Demba Ba and we could only be stronger for signing him.
    He who dares wins. We never take a chance and we never win!
    Fair enough if Ba is looking for a long contract with high wages, then hes not worth the risk. But we could at least speak to his people and make him an offer.

  13. I’m still not 100% convinced by Ba, just like I wasn’t convinced by Papisse Cisse when he was banging them in. If a scoring run is the reason for buying a player, then we should have snapped up Kevin Phillips, or Francis Jeffers.

    By all accounts, the Lopez move makes sense because he releases Theo into the extra striker role we would be buying for. And if you’re on the fringes of the Spain squad, you must be flipping amazing.

  14. what a weak argument you have against his signing. Too many similar strikers you say? well, Manchester United have FOUR, three of which are far much better than Giroud/Walcott.
    I’d rather have to call Ba off the bench to rescue us than Gervinho and Ramsey

  15. Arsenal should have a look at Shane Long(WBA). He is a top class centre forward who is completely honest and unselfish. He is a really good header of the ball and would be a decent threat at set pieces. I believe he would work really well with Theo. I’m not just being loyal to an Irish player

  16. Sadly we did snap up Francis Jeffers!
    Ba is not remotely on Wenger’s radar and nor is anybody who will make a substantial difference to our striking options. He shops at Aldi not Harrodsburg.

  17. Savage-
    What do you mean by scoring run? Demba Ba is banging in goals, and not just this season either. Calling his record a run of form is ridiculous, especially when you suggest a striker who has only a couple of league goals this season.
    Given the choice, I know who Id like.

  18. How long is his scoring run? Theo’s having a scoring run too.

    I’m not saying Ba is a bad player, the indications are good. But as ever, there is no guarantee – it’s still early days with him. I am fine with signing him, except for the bowing part, which is annoying.

    What should be said is that if Chelsea got scared off by his wage demands…

  19. Savage-
    Really, look at his record over last season too. You cannot really argue that form can last over a year, can you?
    Theo, with supposedly better players around him, has an overall inferior record.
    You comment as if Ba only just started scoring this season.
    I never said there was any guarantee. But to bid for an out of sorts striker from a different league, when a proven, top-level goalscorer is available seems an awful decision.
    What should be said actually, is that Chelsea are in talks for him right now, and will have him snapped up long before us.

  20. that he will do the same to Arsenal as he is currently doing to Newcastle.
    Mr. Atwood,
    Oh, on Ba, you mean like _______ (cesc, rvp, nasri, song, clichy, etc. etc. etc.) What a lame argument. No contract is worth anything when our club does nothing to say no to enforce it against the wantaways. You use a specious argument against Ba as if he is somehow different from the BEST of Arsenal. He’s not better or worse, despite your cautionary flag.
    Fact is, if we sign him you will find a way to praise Arsene’s genius for having taken a prudent risk.

  21. Considering Arsenal fans are one of the ethnically diversely spread out of all the clubs in the UK, maybe BG & Savage should jump ship and join aMIllwall. Sad to see that in this day and age, there are people who base their decisions on such pathetic small minded ideals. I wonder if they eat curries or kebabs, or visit their local offy.
    Yeah we should sign Ba and Cisse, just to piss them two clowns off.

  22. Seems as though Chelsea deems him good enough for them, and “really want him at” CFC.

  23. As far as I can see an excellent signing, but we are not getting him, Chelsea have met the release clause and have permission to talk to the player. Procrastination strikes again by the look of it!!

  24. If I was given the choice I’d take Hatem Ben Arfa over Demba Ba.

    Much more an Arsenal type player. Nothing against Demba Ba but Ben Arfa has star potential.

  25. @ Tasos, if anything Ba is actually much more of an Arsenal type player, well more akin to the type of players we had when we used to win things under Wenger. That is, big, powerful, athletic but still technically sound and gifted in some cases (to go along with being vastly experienced and accomplished too in comparison to our recruits in recent seasons).

    I agree he is not like the general (so no need to point out exceptions) mould we have gone in recent years, which is small, brittle, technical little hybrid-position smurfs.

    In our trophy winning Wenger years we had the tallest and heaviest average teams in the league, there was a stat I read in the last few seasons how we had gone from that to the shortest and lightest average team in the league. No coincidence that our injury problems have mounted with our switch away from more physical older players, to less physical younger players, with less quality in replacements meaning their still in some cases, maturing bodies have been overworked and broken down.

    Yet somehow so many (not saying you) have bought into this brainwashing myth (by Wenger imo) that technical ability is almost everything about a player. It hasn’t been helped by Barca’s rise in the last half decade with a stable of great technical midgets. However, the difference (along arguably with coaching, tactics, fitness and preparation), is that there is a sheer and wide quality gap in terms of their technical midgets versus ours. They are simply far far better.

    Moreover, as good as they undoubtedly are, they don’t play in the premier league, I’m sure they could win it, but it would be a struggle no matter how great they are, because those lumps and bruising and lack of protection from the refs in England in comparison, would take a toll, no matter how mercurially talented they are. The premier league is the fastest, most physical, most intense football league there is with no winter break and played generally in horrible weather. Thus underestimated the importance of the physical side of the game in favour of all things technical is shortsighted.

    Anyway rant over, so in summary Demba Ba is actually to me at least, “An Arsenal Type Player” at least the far closer to the mould of the type of players that Wenger won trophies with at Arsenal (and available for a bargain at that, go figure).

  26. Its all about opinions.

    Like I said nothing against Demba Ba but Ben Arfa has so much more to offer.

    Pace, power, technique, ability to dribble past players, he creates and he can score goals. In my humble opinion Ben Arfa is made for Arsenals more technical game, plus he’s only 25 years old.

    Besides if moneybags Chelsea can’t reach an agreement with Demba Ba’s entourage what chance have Arsenal got?

  27. walter, tony,..
    am a muslim and i felt being offended a couple of times by comments on this blog, just like today, and since you both hate racism, please i would like to ask to either take the.comments off and never allow again as possible, or at least put a comment or an announcment that this is not acceptible on this blog…thx

  28. According to Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, Demba Ba has agreed to join Chelsea tonight.

  29. I hear you Tasos, but I guess I just differ about:

    a) How good is our “technical game” in the first place (some here and there cricket scores aside, our play has been less and less beautiful and more and more labourious in recent seasons)


    b) How important is it to maintain (by recruiting more players of that recent mould) this “technical game” that has won us nothing, has become increasingly easy to frustrate, defend against and tactically prepare for even by lower opposition.

    Personally I’d rather a little less “technique” and more pace, brute power and force, directness, and sheer will and almost arrogance in our play like we used to have when we won things as opposed to all this great technical pointless possession lateral stuff.

  30. Looks like Chelsea it is. Good player, but huge injury risk…..we have had a few of those already.
    But a positive angle, ba to Chelsea, Sturridge to Liverpool, two less options for theo.

  31. A Stewart

    More pace, brute power and directness?

    Sounds a bit too much like Everton to me.

    Arsenal have continually finished above the rest in the premier league becuase our more technical approach proves better in the long run than the more direct, forcefull system used by the likes of Everton. We can’t compete against the big money teams, those days are gone for now, but we have still remained better than the rest.

  32. According to Wenger he is to similar to Giroud,so there you go it would kill Girouds career if we signed Demba Ba that is what he is actually saying,instead he wants to sign another physically weak midget from Spain who have forgotten how to score,nice one Arsene.

  33. forgotten how to score…..or a versatile forward, who can play right across the front, on the fringe of the Spain squad, and kept out of his team by falcao? As for being a midget, barca have one who does alright. I have no ideal whether we will actually sign Lopez, but from what I have heard of him….if not seen of him, he would be far from the worst.

  34. Re: “A Stewart

    More pace, brute power and directness?

    Sounds a bit too much like Everton to me.

    Arsenal have continually finished above the rest in the premier league becuase our more technical approach proves better in the long run than the more direct, forcefull system used by the likes of Everton. We can’t compete against the big money teams, those days are gone for now, but we have still remained better than the rest.

    More doesn’t mean ALL…and rather than being Everton or whatever, I’m talking about a return to being the type of teams that Wenger won with at ARSENAL. We routinely beat teams yes by having technical superiority, but by also being the most physical team in the league, the tallest and strongest team in the league (along with more recruiting more experienced players who had won things before working with Wenger at AFC).

    By saying adding “more” pace, power and directness does it infer it cannot coexist with technical competence and even excellence, because it did before, and I’m not talking about Everton, I’m talking about at Wenger’s trophy winning sides.

    And with regards to style of play, those teams were, far more pacy, far more powerful, and yes far more direct in their play. Not all this pointless slow lateral possession that passes as technical football to many.

    Also directness doesn’t automatically infer, route one hoofball. Directness in this case means breaking and countering at speed, advancing the ball with a couple quick passes, played being capable of running forward with the ball and committing opponents.

    Again, I advocating a return to what used to win Wenger things at Arsenal, and it wasn’t just all technical brilliance that was responsible, the sheer physical force and power of those AFC editions were AS responsible for their success as was their technical prowess.

    Lastly with regards of not being able to compete against big money teams, that has nothing to do with doing the best we can with full and more importantly efficient utilization of the resources that are available to us.

  35. And Sorry I don’t buy that we can’t compete and win the league against the mega rich clubs in it. We have beaten or gotten a result these teams before (every season of the last trophy-less 8, vs. one big team or another really). Those games DO NOT comprise the majority of our league games, and have little to do with dropping points far too regularly against lower opposition whose wage bills and squad sizes pale in comparison to ours.

    Of the world’s best, near best, or top emerging players around, City, Chelsea, Madrid etc simply cannot buy them all. Believe it or not players want to play and there are certainly players we can get in or near that bracket to vastly improve us if we had the will to do so.

    Moreover we are not a poor club and regardless of not being AS rich as the Cities and Chelseas of the league, we choose to utilize our resources in a certain way. We choose to have some 70+ professionals on our books a net increase by over 30 since our last trophy (and move to Emirates). Our manager firmly believes (and chooses) to have a philosophy of pay equity wherein top players earn less than they could elsewhere and squad players and youth earn more than they could elsewhere. We choose to increase and/or lengthen the contracts of kids before they have proven anything. We chose to have a policy of “not wanting to kill their development” by deliberately not putting obstacles in their way in the form of top players, which they can ironically learn from and be better players for having to work harder to eventually displace.

    We choose to keep someone like Diaby on our books who even before his catastrophic injury was an injury prone player with Auxere.

    We have loads of players on our books that don’t/rarely play and collectively eat up hundreds of thousands if not more in wages per week (Chamakh, Arshavin, Djourou, Park, Squillaci, Diaby a host of youth and loanees etc.).

    We choose to prop up a youth system that has a very poor record of producing top talent. We spunk millions on players like Ox who (like Theo) will take years to develop generally instead of going for more mature players, while our manager admits (the other day) that it may cost us games in the developmental process and it would be easier to go for more ready players (i.e. a choice).

    We chose to define success as being a “4th place trophy” which does nothing to attract/retain top players who actually want to win things. Yet we would rather call those players mercenaries (almost all have won silverware since they left) because they dare chase titles AND pay above their artificially held down pay at AFC..without realizing the real mercenaries we have in our squad who are content to never/rarely play and have no ambition to leave their cushy salaries for less money at other clubs where they could actually play the sport they are paid for.

    All this while being one of the most profitable and wealthy clubs in the world, even BEFORE considering we have one of the world’s richest men as the club’s second largest shareholder intentionally frozen out from the board.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I have more faith in Arsenal that that. Of COURSE we can compete with the big clubs in the league and win the damn thing, if we did things more efficiently with the resources that we have.

    It’s football, 11 v 11. I believe in my club far more than the defeatist mentality that prevails with Gooners these days.

  36. We choose to have so many average players (for so long) on good wages that contribute nothing/little instead of paying for (in fee and salary) for a couple genuine top stars for the same (or even less) money and far greater impact.

    That’s a choice the club makes.

  37. Lopez would probably score a bucket load in a Barca team where they dont “overplay” every situation but at Arsenal he will be roughed up by brutes like Shawcross,Fletcher,Tiote he is another Gervinho far to physically weak for this league.

  38. A Stewart

    I understand your point.

    I just don’t believe Arsenal have the resources to challenge for the league right now, regardless of any tinkering in system change or players added.

    We’ve been unable to financially compete with the elite clubs for years now and as a result the gap has logically grown and grown.

    The talent pool available to Arsenal has also been shrinking year on year. Demba Ba, knees and all, moving to Chelsea yet another example of the limited group of top signatures around.

    Therefore I believe the limit of our potential as a team/club right now is fourth place (third was overachieving last year) and so far this season we are on schedule to finish fourth, fifth at worst.

  39. We will finish fourth, but wenger is going to have to be aggressive in the transfer market…..whether he likes it or not. The squad is thin, at least in terms of players wenger is prepared to use, some of these players also seem to be jaded, mentally if not physically, much more rotation is needed. The song diaby situation has also left us lacking balance for some types of games, we needed someone to win the ball a bit more than we did yesterday. Diaby is a great player, but again, like it or not, wenger is not now in a position to gamble, if he does and at the same time fails to finish in the top four, his critics may start to extend beyond some fans and the media, stan wants to develop us commercially and that means the CL. I think wenger would be much happier developing his own players, as opposed to buying somewhat unknown quantities, some have worked, some have clearly not. But he is in a situation whereby he will have to at least compromise his developmental instincts, as he has had to a couple times in recent years.the players we have lost have hurt this team, the recovery is ongoing, this team are at times only spluttering into life.
    But on a brighter note, Chelsea. They have had a bit of a new manager bounce, and who knows who they will sign, there are deep lying problems now at that club, and they are not all some have recently cracked them up to be. Expect more of this evening for them

  40. Must admit, do not know a huge amount on him Danish Gooner…..or have any idea if we will sign him, but he seemed to do well goal wise in his first season at athletico before falcao took off. He is also listed as 5ft 11, not sure of his weight….and he has been on the fringe of the finest international team …certainly in my lifetime. He must have something about him, whether we sign him or not? We certainly need an attacking in some shape or form, depending partly on the theo situation of course

  41. I’ve long accepted that there are people like BG and Savage but honestly Tony I’m disappointed that you’d let comments like those onto this site. I’ve seen other blogs moderate such things and even you have stepped in to stomp out pointless comments whose only aim is to provoke others. I thought better of a blog I frequent daily and have even defended in the past, and to come on it today and see that garbage..

    On Ba, I wouldn’t be upset if we signed him but I feel there may be better around. What I find interesting is chelseas apparent interest in him, IF rumours are to be believed. Could it have something to do with FFP being around the corner? Odd for chelsea to go after someone so cheap by their standards, particularly when they really need a striker

  42. Tony, I would support the comment from iniez, there is no place for racism in football and scum like BG and Savage should be banned from this site or at least suffer a more severe moderation before approval of their posts.

    Re Ba, the debate looks academic now as he appears to be en route to Chelsea. However, would AW have tried to sign him if it was not for his knee problem – probably yes, but only AW knows the answer.

    To partially repeat an earlier discussion – my first priority would be to inject more power, pace and height into the midfield – to complement the small fast tricky players, at present the balance seems too much in favour of the small players. Lets hope AW shares that view.

  43. Cheers bjtgooner
    Must agree with you. If we were to sign, say, fellaini, or a player of that style, our midfield would become more solid and offer a platform for our attack to build on. I think fellaini in particular would be a fantastic for us. He has been getting more attention lately but I think that’s more to do with arteta coming to us. But I’ve always admired him. Maybe he doesn’t quite have the technical ability required at arsenal, but it couldn’t hurt to scout him and find out. Also the fact that he is already familiar with arteta if they were to be played together and has PL experience is very reassuring. I see him as a good candidate. Overall though, some more stability in midfield is essential, especially incase arteta is fatigued or, knock on wood, injured

    Also seeing as the ba to arsenal debate is somewhat moot, has anyone watched this adrian lopez people have been banging on about? I would go to youtube but I feel a few 2 minute clips made to make him look good won’t cut it

  44. What Fellaini gives a side is the ability to bypass his teams own defence and deep lying midfielders and still retain possession of the ball, He is very adept at playing with his back to goal within a high midfield. He has the capacity to nullify an oppositions midfield in this way, especially with players moving past him at pace which would be the case if he did turn in at Arsenal. He has a similar capacity to hold a ball in the same manner as Henry did, almost upright but showing immense core strength.

    The only insistence I would write in to his contract would be a hair cut.

    Fellaini, for me would be a great addition but I cannot see it happening. Fellaini & Isco since im out window shopping.

  45. Regarding BG / savage comments, coming from Belfast as I do, unfortunately I’ve seen & listened to all types of vile sectarian and racist abuse these people should be challenge at every opportunity and not allowed to shout from corners or hide at the back of a crowd, they must be exposed at every level of society. I for one don’t care if you have purple skin with yellow dot’s as long as you give the best for Arsenal that all that matters ,God see‘s us all the same way of course that’s if you believe in God .

  46. Erm I think you guys are taking this racist stuff well out of proportion. I too am Muslim, but also decide not to be a little pussy about reading a comment on the Internet

  47. Saw Lopez off youtube and he seems more of a direct running kind of guy rather than a flashy dribbler. Scores lots of headers and hardly a midget at 1.83m.

  48. Is this a racist joke or just an accurate futuristic commentary ?

    Registry on the first day back at school in Birmingham UK
    The teacher began calling out the names of the pupils:-

    “Mustafa Al Eih Zeri?” “Here.”
    “Achmed El Kabul?” “Here.”
    “Fatima Al Hayek? ” “Here.”
    “Ali Abdul Olmi?” “Here.”
    “Mohammed Bin Kadir?” “Here.”

    “Ali Son al Len” – Silence in the classroom.
    “Ali Son al Len” – Continued silence as everyone looked around the room.
    The teacher repeated the call.

    A girl stood up and said, “Sorry teacher. I think that’s me. It’s pronounced Alison Allen.

  49. If he continues as he’s started at Chelsea we’ll regret not having him at Arsenal.

    Ba, son of Drogba, let’s hope he’s not as lethal as the latter was when he plays against us.

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