Following Andy Carroll’s big-money move to Liverpool, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew made signing a new centre-forward a priority heading into the 2011-12 Premier League season.
And that centre-forward came in the form of West Ham United’s Demba Ba with the Senegalese arriving at St. James’ Park on a free transfer (Transfermarkt).
Fast forward and Newcastle’s acquisition of Ba can only be described as daylight robbery.
In his debut season on Tyneside, Ba was able to score 16 Premier League goals as the Magpies went on to secure a fifth place finish and a Europa League qualification spot.
In short, the 33-year-old became such a deadly No.9 for Newcastle, leading the line well and scoring all sorts of goals.
Ba could score with both feet, was just as dangerous with his head and capable of volleying home.
While not always on song, Ba formed a partnership with compatriot Papiss Cisse that caused Premier League defences across the country problems in its early days.
Had he not left for Chelsea during the 2013 January transfer window, in his second season at St. James’ Park, Ba would have been well on course to reaching the 20-goal mark.
That period between when he joined Pardew’s side and left, the Senegal international was easily one of the leading centre-forwards in English football’s top flight.
Wheeling and dealing has not always produced positive results for Newcastle managers working under Mike Ashley’s financially tight regime. But in Ba’s case, Pardew was able to bear fruit from such a low-cost signing.