The news on Thursday that Newcastle's Senegalese striker Demba Ba is widely expected to leave St. James' Park for Premier League rivals Chelsea has left the already disgruntled Magpies fans feeling almost hopeless.
With no real suitable replacement, the news has led many to believe that Newcastle United will not be playing European football next season.
This deal makes little sense to fans of Newcastle United. Ba has been one of the best signings in recent years, arriving from West Ham United in 2011 on a free transfer. Now it appears that Ba will leave for a bargain price of around 7 million Pounds. And because of some complex ownership clauses, Newcastle will reportedly receive only 4.5 million with the rest going to Ba himself.
Demba Ba has been one of the best performers for Newcastle over the last two years and the move will leave manager Alan Pardew with few options to replace him. The team is currently languishing in 15th place in the Premier League and appear poised to lose their leading scorer.
Ba’s countrymen Papiss Cissé is one option. After scoring an impressive 13 goals in 14 league matches last season, Cissé has only scored 4 so far this campaign. However, he has been primarily used as a right-winger to accommodate Ba down the middle. But Ba’s departure still leaves Newcastle weak up front.
Alan Pardew is rumoured to be interested in West Ham’s Mali international Modibo Maïga, who has received few opportunities this year at the London club. Maïga has been used as a winger since coming to England and is not expected to be a serious goalscoring presence.
Pardew appears to be looking to France for help. Bordeaux’s Yoan Gouffran and Marsaille’s French international Loïc Rémy are both rumoured to be in negotiations to replace Demba Ba, but both transfers carry serious risks.
Gouffran’s contract is done at the end of the season and is widely expected to leave for England. He has been on-form this season but his short stature (1,76cm) might mean that Pardew would likely utilize him on the winger and not as a goal scorer.
Loïc Rémy’s style of play is better suited to the English game but he has been seriously off-form this season. Remy has only started two matches in the Ligue 1 and scored only one goal. He has for weeks now been linked to the Magpies but QPR, West Ham and others are also reportedly interested. It appears likely that Newcastle will have to pay as much as 15 million Pounds for the forward.
With Newcastle’s season quickly slipping away, Demba Ba’s imminent departure to Chelsea leaves Alan Pardew in a more precarious situation.