This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Capturing Demba Ba for Newcastle United on a free transfer from West Ham United back on the 1st July 2011 was a masterclass from the then-manager Alan Pardew.
Despite the Hammers’ relegation in the previous season, the striker had already showed what he could do in front of goal in the Premier League. In his relatively short spell in London, Ba had scored seven goals in 12 appearances in the top flight, according to Transfermarkt. For a side who eventually finished bottom of the table, this was relatively impressive, and Pardew saw that.
Upon his arrival up in the North East, the English coach claimed that Ba had ‘made a great impression’ and added that he was ‘a great signing’ for the Tyneside club. Pardew also complemented his pace and ‘excellent’ technical and aerial ability, in addition to his consistency to find the back of the net. The 58-year old said that Ba had ‘a great passion’ to play at St. James’ Park, as per the Magpies’ official website.
Perhaps it was surprising that nobody else in England’s highest division took a gamble on him, especially for no transfer fee. It was the Toon that captured him under the noses of everybody, and he did not disappoint.
In the 2011/12 campaign, Ba netted 16 times and made four assists in 34 games in the league, as he more than helped guide NUFC to a fifth-placed finish, just four points off of a Champions League place.
Consequently, the 34-year old’s market value rose from £6.75 million to £13.5 million, as he looked forward to having another successful term.
Indeed, Ba struck 13 more times and made produced three more assists in 20 matches in the Premier League before the turn of the year, meaning he had netted 29 league goals in one and a half seasons on Tyneside (via Transfermarkt).
His impressive performances earned the Senegalese international a £7.65 million move to Chelsea midway through the season, the team on the back of winning the Champions League.
Maybe it was a shame that Ba left so early, but given just how much he gave Newcastle for no transfer fee highlights how much of a masterclass it was by Pardew to capture him under top flight noses.
Is Ba the best free signing that Newcastle have ever made?
Geordies, what is your best memory of Ba? Comment below!
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