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.
Newcastle United completed a free transfer for Demba Ba in June 2011 after the Senegalese striker rejected a lucrative contract offer by West Ham United, and became the Magpies’ second signing of the window by following Yohan Cabaye to St. James’ Park (Guardian).
Ba had only been at West Ham for six-months when he rejected the Iron’s £55,000-a-week contract and £500,000 signing-on bonus to walk away from East London, having scored seven goals in 12 Premier League games in Claret and Blue (TransferMarkt), giving Newcastle little risk in making a swoop.
Everton were also keen on the former TSG Hoffenheim star, who fired home 40 times in 106 games across all competitions for the Bundesliga outfit, and struck past Liverpool and Manchester City following his arrival in England.
Little risk brought tremendous success for the Magpies, as Ba went on to score a career-high 16 goals for a single season in his debut campaign in Black and White, with Newcastle ending the term fifth in the table – just five points behind third-placed Arsenal.
It was the Magpies’ highest-placed league finish since 2004, and booked their return to Europe with a Europa League Play-Off round place after Chelsea’s Champions League triumph saw fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur miss out on UEFA’s premier club competition.
Things did not start perfectly for Ba, though, as the Sevres, France-born striker failed to score in his first four league outings, and was benched by Alan Pardew against Sunderland on matchday two.
But a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers opened the floodgates, with Ba going on to score against Wolves, Spurs, and another treble against Stoke City in his next four outings, before adding to his tally against Manchester United twice.
Another drought following a three-game absence for international duty in January meant Ba only added one more to his tally for the season, but the goals were not over, as he found his shooting boots in 2012/13 to strike 13 times in 20 games before yesterday’s free-scoring opponents Chelsea came poaching.
The Stamford Bridge outfit triggered a £7million clause in Ba’s contract (Telegraph) that meant he could move to Rafa Benitez’s West London side to support the struggling Fernando Torres, and leave the Magpies’ with a tidy profit but without their leading goalscorer.
Newcastle have since tried various number nines in Loic Remy, Papiss Demba Cisse, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle and Salomon Rondon, but find themselves with a new man in attack this season, with Joelinton leading the line.
The Brazilian opened his account against Tottenham after spurning chances away to Norwich City, but the floodgates remained firmly closed, with the £40m man (BBC) yet to add to his effort penned in North London, prior to this weekend’s fixture.
United will be keen to see his drought brought to a swift end, but more worryingly for them is that Joelinton did not register a shot against Leicester City or Manchester United in his last two appearances, and handed over possession through unsuccessful touches seven and six times respectively, per WhoScored data.
If Newcastle are to turn Joelinton into a ten goals-a-season-plus centre-forward like they had in Ba and one day make a profit on the figure spent on the Alianca-born forward, Toon boss Steve Bruce will need to see the 23-year-old start to create more for himself than what he has managed in recent weeks.
Newcastle fans, can Joelinton better Ba’s 16 goal debut season? Let us know in the comments below…
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