The first winter signing has arrived at Stamford Bridge. After weeks of speculation, Demba Ba has signed for Chelsea. Just as he said, it was great for all parties concerned that he could complete his move so early in the transfer window.
For months, we’ve been waiting for a new striker and that’s not Ba. That doesn’t mean we don’t welcome Ba. Actually I’m as excited as I’d be for any new signing. I love new signings. Who doesn’t? There’s this period of getting to know player, watching his interview, watching him sport the blue kit and observe every move of him, work out new songs for him, work on new memes for him – I love that routine.
At £7m, the Ba signing simply cannot go wrong. He’s a good striker, experienced in the premier league and is in good form. At he’s come cheap. The only concerns are that he’s alreayd 27 years old and he’s got a suspect knee. For the record, Ba has failed medicals twice because of his knee! And we know the conspiracy story around Torres and how he was sold with an aggravated injury. At 27, injuries will cost more time and effort.
Ba is very unlike Torres in terms of his style of play. He’s not the ‘dropping back’ type of striker that Torres has become. Ba is a proper centre forward who has great presence in the box and also a great header of the ball. It’s this new dimension that excites me. We haven’t really benefitted too much from crosses with Torres. Ba will thrive on those crosses.
The interesting thing would be to understand Ba’s role in the squad. Many think that he is a back up for Torres or a bench player. I don’t think so. I think he’s just one of the two specialist strikers we have. The one who’s fit and in form would play. As it stands, I’d drop Torres to the bench and pick Ba for this weekend’s FA Cup game against Southampton.
The arrival of Ba is very significant in the Torres episode. Now either Torres miraculously finds form due to the pressure brought on by the competition for places or he makes a quiet exit and makes way for the marquee striker in the summer. Most of us know that his time is up. Some very radical and very fundamental needs to change in him for him to revive his career at Chelsea. In a way, if Ba turns out to be a decent purchase, that could also be an exit plan for Torres.
Chelsea have been missing the plan B big time. When things didn’t work, we didn’t have a different weapon on our side. Ba being here has improved us on that account. I wouldn’t mind Walcott here. He’s one of the much improved players in the last couple of seasons. He’s got pace, can be a useful wide player, he can be a striker too and he’s English. If he comes at below £15m I’d be tempted.
I hope our winter shopping is not over with just Ba. Would love to see just one more versatile player and I’d be done for this month. For now, I can’t wait to see Ba in action. Rafa has said that he’s fit and ready and will be available for selection this weekend. There’s no reason why he can’t start against Southampton. ‘Looking forward’ is an understatement.