Chelsea forward Demba Ba, who has found the net a whopping 38 times in 81 Premier League appearances since joining West Ham on loan in 2011, is poised to rejoin struggling Newcastle on a short-term basis.
However, the Senegal striker is angling for a move ahead of next year’s World Cup after losing his place in the Chelsea line-up, and here are five better-placed clubs who could do worse than gazump the Geordies and add Ba to their attacking ranks.
Arsene Wenger has had no joy in his summer search for a striker, with deals for Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain going up in smoke.
Ba’s 15 league goals in 32 appearances last season is just shy of Higuain’s 16 in 28 appearances, but considering 13 of the Senegalese’s goals came for lowly Newcastle in a much stronger league, Wenger could do worse than trying to tempt Chelsea with a portion of the £34.5m Napoli paid for the Argentinean.
Current odds of 66/1 about Ba topping the Premier League scoring charts would plummet were he to swap the Stamford Bridge bench for the Emirates front-line.
The Scottish Premier League champions only just managed to overcome Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karaganda and reach the group stage of the Champions League, underlining their need to replace Gary Hooper after last season’s 19-goal striker left for Norwich City.
Celtic would struggle to justify Ba’s reputed £4m per year salary, but the lure of regular football against the cream of Europe could tempt the striker to take a small pay cut.
During his 12 games for the east Londoners, Ba managed seven Premier League strikes and quickly became a fans’ favourite at the Boleyn Ground.
An injury to record signing Andy Carroll has left Modibo Maiga and Ricardo Vaz Te, who has put in a transfer request, as the only fit senior strikers at the club. With neither managing to find the net in the Hammers’ two league games this season, Ba would surely walk into the starting line up at Upton Park.
The Serie A side have been linked with Ba this summer and have money to spend after announcing the £30m sale of winger Erik Lamela to Tottenham.
Pablo Osvaldo’s £15m departure from the Stadio Olimpico puts extra pressure on Francesco Totti to come up with Roma’s goals and the addition of Ba would take some of the burden off their 36-year-old captain.
Andre Villas-Boas’ plethora of summer signings includes just one out-and-out centre-forward in the form of Roberto Soldado and back-up striker Jermain Defoe has been linked with QPR and West Brom during the transfer window.
Ba scored more league goals before his January move than either Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor managed during the whole season and would be a high class option for Spurs, should anything happen to their new £26m forward.