Last season, Newcastle United shocked the football world when they finished fifth in the Premier League table at 19-8-11. With 65 points, the Magpies finished five points behind Arsenal for a Europa League place.
It was a stunning change of fortunes for a club that finished the 2010-11 season in 12th place at a woeful 11-13-14.
Much of this success can be credited to the 2011 offseason acquisition of striker Demba Ba.
Ba made an immediate impact, recording a hat trick in his first goal-scoring appearance on Sept. 24. Ba would finish with a team-leading 16 goals in 36 appearances.
This season, Ba’s success has continued—he is currently tied for the league lead in goals with six—however, the Magpies’ good fortunes haven’t.
Newcastle United currently sit in 11th place at 2-4-2.
Add to that what is believed to be the impending departure of Ba during the January transfer window and Tyneside is sure to be in a frenzy.
With a £7 million buyout clause reactivating in January, there is not much to stop the vultures from circling.
While Ba has no doubt proven invaluable to the Magpies, they might just be better off without him.
Here are three reasons the Magpies shouldn’t keep Ba.
Pappis Cisse (left) might be better off without Ba around
While Ba was impressive last season, fellow Senegalese striker Pappis Cisse was even more so.
After being acquired during the January window, Cisse netted 13 goals in 13 appearances. Compare that to Ba’s one goal during the same period.
Much of that can be due to manager Alan Pardrew’s formation change from the 4-4-1-1 to the 4-3-3 upon Cisse’s arrival.
After spending the first half of the season up front, Ba now found himself moved to the left wing in favor of Cisse.
While the move seemed to douse Ba’s fire last season, it has seemed to have the same effect on Cisse this season.
In nine appearances, the 27-year-old has only netted two goals—none in seven league fixtures.
In fact, both Cisse’s goals came in games in which Ba didn’t play. In 20 total appearances on the pitch together, the duo have both scored in the same game only once—Cisse’s debut with the club in a February fixture against Aston Villa.
Coincidence? I think not.
With the pair yet to click on the level where both can contribute at the same time, Newcastle United may be faced with a conundrum similar to what Chelsea faced last season with Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.
It all begs to ask the question: Should the Magpies choose between one or the other?
If so, the Magpies would be better off with Cisse.
Unlike Ba, Cisse provides the team with a proven goal scorer who hasn’t made headlines with constant demands for higher wages and who doesn’t have a knack for questioning the management at the club.
Ba’s departure might just be the catalyst to set Cisse off again.
Demba Ba (right) is only going to make things more difficult for himself with his recent demands
As it stands, Ba makes £50,000 a week.
However, that doesn’t seem to be enough for the 27-year-old striker. Ba reportedly wants nearly double that.
Unfortunately for Ba, the Magpies have informed him that if he doesn’t cut down on his ridiculous wage demands his future at the club might be at risk.
With only one season under his belt, it’s outrageous for Ba to make such a demand.
Sure, his first campaign with the club was great, however, his second half paled in comparison to the first—one goal compared to 15.
If Ba wants to prove he deserves “all-star” money, then he needs to keep up his current stellar form for an entire season.
After all, the league isn’t won in the first few months of the season—you’ve got to show up when it counts.
Seydou Doumbia (left) would provide the Magpies with a tremendous talent
If Ba does leave, don’t expect Newcastle United to mourn for long.
That’s because they all ready have possible replacements on deck.
Most recently, the Magpies have been linked to CSKA standout Seydou Doubmia.
While his £16 million buy rate is certainly higher than what Pardew would wish to spend and what Newcastle United might be able to offer, but the Ivorian would certainly be worth the price.
Only 24, the former Young Boys striker has tremendous potential.
Before netting 26 goals for CKSA last season, Doumbia made a name for himself by scoring 57 goals in two seasons with Young Boys.
You can follow Sebastian on Twitter at @SP7988