Montgaillard, Le Havre, Frileuse, Mountrouge, Olympique Lyonnais, Auxerre, Foligno, Watford (twice), Barnsley, Amiens, Rouen, Mouscron. Even Stoke City.
Every one of these teams had the opportunity to sign Demba Ba. And every one of them turned him down, reports The Daily Mail.
Everyone at the club has been relieved to see him returning to his goalscoring ways, after a dip in form during the second half of last season. The Senegalese striker has been in imperious form this season, scoring six goals in the league.
Alan Pardew yesterday had this to say about Ba:
Signing Demba Ba in the summer of 2011 was a complete no-brainer for me and Newcastle United.
‘I still have contacts at West Ham, friends throughout the club who told me all about Demba. After watching his performances for West Ham, I was convinced he had the right attitude and characteristics. More importantly, he was a player who would score goals at this club.
One of the things I wanted to check out was his injuries. I had heard the rumours, and there was the failed medical at Stoke, but he trained every day at West Ham and they didn’t perceive it would be an issue.
Other than the fact there is a picture of his knee which doesn’t look very well, I wasn’t bothered. I’ve not even seen the picture. That’s not to say that at some time in his career it won’t have an effect on him, but he has trained every day with us, too. That is all I need to know.
As a man and a footballer he is strong, clear management material and a leader who tells you how it is. I like all of those attributes in a player.
He is a big leader in the dressing room and I want him here for years, to take the club forward.
Demba is one of a number of Muslim players at Newcastle United. We have as many as eight, and it is a very important part of our club.
Some don’t portray it openly, some do, and Demba is a strong believer who follows the traditions, perhaps more than others, and I respect that.
Their lifestyle makes for great professional footballers because they don’t drink, they live correctly and are absolutely perfect ambassadors for their religion. It is nice to listen to their opinions, too.
There are players who aren’t religious who live just as well. But this group’s focus on their life, career, profession and success is very important to them, and it is not just about how they live, eat, sleep or conduct their lives.
We have thought about building a prayer room for all faiths within St James’ Park which can be used on match days. It is right and we are still trying to nail a place down within the stadium and are investigating the issue to make sure we get it right.
Demba has shown great determination to get where he is today and I see that every day. I see it in negotiations with him. I think he has been hurt by the whole process and he wants to prove to people he is a top player.
I would like to think we have helped him do that at Newcastle United. We are one of the first clubs to offer him security. We all want Demba to stay at Newcastle and we’re working on trying to secure his future at the club.