When the Senegalese front-man was first introduced into the English game, via West Ham United in January 2011, Demba Ba pretty much arrived as an unknown entity with it all to prove in the Premier League.
Subsequent stints at both Newcastle and Chelsea followed for the now 30-year-old after his goals at Upton Park failed to save the Hammers from the dreaded threat of relegation that season, yet after eventually departing England for Turkish Super Lig outfit, Besiktas, this time last year – Demba Ba will now be operating as a striker for Shanghai Shenhua in China throughout the upcoming campaign.
Some may see the decision to move to such an unknown club as a distinct waste of the player’s talents in the modern era. Many teams across Europe – the home of football’s most recognised and established leagues – could easily use a striker as effective as Ba in the run up to the 2015/16 season.
That said, the choice to move to China might just have been settled by financial reasons alone, for it could well be argued that at the still fruitful age of only 30-years-old, the former West Ham, Newcastle and Chelsea forward still has unfinished business in the Premier League…
Upon impressing at Upton Park in his debut season with West Ham, Demba Ba clearly defined himself as a player who certainly knew how to find the back of the net.
Seven league goals in half a season with the Hammers offered the Premier League a new asset to contend with in the modern era, as although certain injury worries had previously plagued the front-man during his time with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, no such problems thankfully came to haunt the Senegalese international during his time in England.
West Ham’s loss seemingly became Newcastle’s gain as Avram Grant’s side faced impending relegation by the end of the 2010/11 campaign however, and it was at St. James’ Park that the French-born front-man truly found his best form in the Premier League.
When it came to sending the ball home successfully in one-on-one situations, proving a constant problem for defenders with his movement in an around the box, and simply providing his respective managers with a continuous goal threat for the entire 90 minutes – Demba Ba often proved worthy of ticking all the right boxes for Newcastle.
Through his slightly untraditional style on the ball as well as his seeming unpredictability in the final third, the now 30-year-old striker helped transform the Magpies into a truly formidable outfit during his time in the North East – even if such a turnaround in fortunes ultimately didn’t last long for Alan Pardew’s side.
Alongside the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa for Newcastle – before such players inevitably departed the Premier League club one way or another – the Tynesiders were more than worthy of their 5th place finish in 2011/12 thanks to the contributions of players like Demba Ba.
However, when the Senegalese star opted to leave the comfort of St. James’ shortly after such a strong season with Newcastle, it seemed the writing was already on the wall for the former West Ham and Hoffenheim man in terms of his impending departure from the English game. Chelsea simply never really required his services in the first place.
Ba was signed at Stamford Bridge under Rafa Benitez – an interim boss who was never going to last with the Blues himself – during a somewhat transitional phase at Chelsea where the club simply weren’t performing at their very best.
The often influential front-man failed to make much of an impact in the Premier League after leaving Newcastle, which looking back, seemingly put an end to the player’s career in the English game. Although several other Prem clubs have reportedly registered an interest in Ba since he left for Besiktas last summer, a return never really seemed on the cards in the cold light of day.
So then, although many English football fans may have already forgotten the name ‘Demba Ba’ after his rather abrupt departure from Chelsea back in 2014, the player himself nonetheless still has unfinished business in England should the Senegalese front-man one day decide on returning to the Premier League.
The golden days for Demba Ba on these here shores ultimately remain firmly in the past, though, with all things considered.