Signing an aging striker with a history of knee problems is a risky move, but Demba Ba’s incredible Chelsea debut in Round 3 of the FA Cup against Southampton is a sign that the club made a smart choice.
The Blues recently completed a £7.5 million deal to bring the Senegalese striker to Stamford Bridge, as The Independent’s Simon Rice reported. Ba, 27, has 13 Premier League goals already this season, and his FA Cup campaign is now off to a roaring start.
Chelsea went behind against the Saints when Jay Rodriguez scored in the 22nd minute, but Ba pulled the Blues level, and the team then put away four more unanswered goals. He scored his second in the 61st minute to put his new side up 4-1 en route to a 5-1 victory.
As the Daily Record notes, Ba suffered permanent knee damage in 2006. Due to the injury, both his transfer to Stuttgart in 2009 and his move to Stoke City in 2011 were cancelled after failed physicals.
His checkered history is reason to worry, but his incredible form this season makes him well worth the risk.
Chelsea could have spent much more on a blockbuster deal for a player like Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao, but if Ba remains on his goal-scoring tear, he will contribute a similar amount of goals this season as the Colombian star would have if he made a move to London.
While Roman Abramovich does not have a reputation for being shrewd in the transfer market, this signing will end up providing the team with excellent value. Ba will easily outperform the expectations for a £7.5 million player.
Chelsea can still reevaluate its plans for Fernando Torres following the season and possibly make a run towards Falcao this summer. During this campaign, Ba will be a productive option for Rafa Benitez when Torres is struggling to find the net.
Ba will be productive this season, and he will be an ideal second striking option for the club going forward. The price the team paid for him is paltry when considering his production.
The only downside to this deal is his injury history, but if the team covers its bases with another star striker, the risk will be mitigated.
As long as Ba remains healthy, this deal will look better and better. And after his debut performance, it already appears to be a fantastic decision.