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Is Demba Ba the answer to Chelsea's striking woes?

Is Demba Ba the answer to Chelsea's striking woes?

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Goal.com's Shikharr Chandra discusses the pros and cons of Chelsea's transfer target Demba Ba...

It seems like Rafa Benitez is finally getting the best out of this Chelsea side who at one point looked like going nowhere. After the disappointing trip to Japan that saw them end as runners-up to Corinthians, the club has finally settled in winning their last four out of five games.

It looks like Rafa Benitez has finally got the right balance going forward and defending and although many fans still voice their disapproval of the Spaniard's appointment, he has steadied the ship over a period where the club traditionally performs poorly.

There is no secret that the club lacks depth in striking department as Daniel Sturridge's transfer to Liverpool leaves Rafa Benitez with just Fernando Torres to play the center forward role. Although the Spanish striker is trying to get back to his old form, the club clearly needs another striker. This increase the competition for the position of the lone frontman which in turn will further aid in bringing out the best out of Torres who has played every game this season except the Capital One Cup clash against Manchester United where he was suspended.

The Pensioners are close to signing Newcastle striker Demba Ba as a potential replacement for Daniel Sturridge in the next few days. Chelsea are willing to meet the Senegalese £7.5million release clause. So we, at Goal.com, discuss the pros and cons of the Newcastle striker and whether he is the player Chelsea need right now.

Positives

There is no question that the Senegalese striker is a proven goal-scorer. The forward has scored 13 times in the league this season, the same as Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Swansea's Michu.

Striker Fernando Torres Demba Ba
Appearances 20 19
Goals 7 13
Assists 1 0
Shots On Target 45 37
Passing % 70 78

The Senegalese striker is clearly an upgrade to Daniel Sturridge and being a natural centre-forward, he is the perfect fit for Chelsea for now. The striker will add a new dimension to Chelsea's attack who have lacked a "Plan B" on many occasions this season. The 27-year old is a far more adept in the air than Torres, something Chelsea have been lacking in their system. With Ba's presence in the side, Chelsea will have an alternative to resort to their direct style of play, which has worked for them over the last decade with Didier Drogba playing the role of a target man brilliantly.

Demba Ba is a proven goal scorer

Ever since Rafa Benitez has taken over from Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea have employed a more direct approach to their game to support Torres. Also what has been observed is that Chelsea have brought a lot more width into play as the selection of Victor Moses over Oscar had illustrated. In addition to this, Chelsea have been releasing the ball quicker as opposed to the dribbling their way into the box which didn't help Torres' case as he was used primarily to take a couple of defenders out of their position and drift wide.

One of the key reasons Chelsea's attacks broke down under Roberto Di Matteo was the lack of involvement of Fernando Torres while going forward which has changed a lot ever since Benitez has taken over.

Demba Ba will be an ideal fit for this system. The Newcastle striker is used to a more direct approach as seen at his time with Hoffenheim and Newcastle.

The 27-year old has enough Premier League experience and is in the prime of his career. With Chelsea missing out on Champions League progression this season and losing three other cup finals, the club has been hit financially and it seems like they have learnt from its previous mistakes of making a big money move in the January window.

With UEFA introducing Financial Fair Play (FFP), which has already affected many clubs, signing the likes of Falcao may not be prudent for Chelsea. Hence Ba can prove to be a useful signing for the club.

Ba's presence in the side will also not hamper Torres's first team spot as the Spaniard battles to get back his goal scoring touch. At the very least, Ba would provide some attacking options from the bench if Chelsea cannot find an answer via Torres. 

 

Negatives

For every positive, there is a flipside as well. There is no question that Demba Ba has proved himself to be a striker capable of playing for the "elite" clubs with his recent performance against Arsenal a prime example.

Ba's injury issues could be of concern

Although Ba has been outstanding this season, his loss of form last season was a matter of concern for Alan Pardew. Ever since the arrival of Papis Cisse last January, Ba lost his form midway through the season. This can be a cause of concern for Rafa Benitez if at any point he decides to play both Torres and Ba together as neither striker is comfortable playing out wide.

The other downside of Ba's transfer will be him being cup-tied for Capital One Cup and the Europa League. His absence from these two competitions might see his chances being limited to only the Premier League where he might be used as a second choice to Fernando Torres.

Another major issue with Ba is his lingering knee problem. When he was signed for West Ham, Stoke City manager Tony Pullis described him as a “ticking time-bomb” and a “massive risk” after revealing Demba Ba had failed a last minute medical in a £7 million deal that could have seen him switch to the Brittania Stadium. The Senegalese forward moved to Newcastle on a free transfer after agreeing a pay-as-you-play deal with the club after failing yet another medical.

All in all this could turn out to be a very sensible move for Chelsea if a deal is agreed considering the meagre transfer fee. Although he is not the answer to Chelsea's long term concerns as the club might still look to pursue their interest in Radamel Falcao, what Ba can bring is a short term solution for the time being.

 

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