News Live Scores

Former Chelsea star Ba reveals how Mourinho blocked his transfer to Arsenal

16:40 BST 28/07/2020
Demba Ba mask
The Senegal international came close to teaming up with the Stamford Bridge outfit’s arch-rivals in 2013 before the deal was scuttled

Demba Ba has recalled how former manager Jose Mourinho blocked a move to join Arsenal during his time with Chelsea.

The 35-year-old, now at Istanbul Basaksehir, joined Chelsea in January 2013 from Newcastle after impressing during his two-year stay with the Magpies, where he scored 29 Premier League goals in 54 games.

The Senegal international, however, wanted to leave the Blues in the summer as the arrival of Cameroon and Barcelona legend Samuel Eto’o was expected to limit his playing time.  

Ba remembered how he was close to teaming up with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on transfer deadline day before the deal was scuttled by the Portuguese tactician.

“I was really close [to joining Arsenal]. I was at my house in Paris, having a day off, when I got a phone call from Arsene Wenger – he asked if I’d come back to London for a medical,” Ba told FourFourTwo“I woke up at 9am on transfer deadline day, jumped on a train, got to London, but then it never happened.

“Arsenal made a couple of signings on the same day [Mesut Ozil and Emiliano Viviano] and Mourinho chose to block the deal, as he didn’t want to help make one of Chelsea’s competitors stronger.”

Ba only started five Premier League games in the 2013-14 season but made key impacts for the Blues coming off the bench.

The striker recalled one of his most eye-catching performances for Chelsea against Paris Saint-Germain when he scored the match winner in their Champions League quarter-final.

“Being a young kid from the hood in Paris, growing up in poverty and then scoring the goal that took Chelsea to the Champions League semi-finals, that felt like a great achievement,” he continued.

“I had to find a way of dealing with not starting matches, but when you don’t play and you’re surrounded by players who do, the negativity comes.

"Near the end of that season, I decided to stop moaning, work hard until the season was done, then move on. When I stopped complaining, I started to score and play more.

“I remember having a chat with Mourinho once the season was finished when he asked me to stay for another year, but I had already decided to go.”

Ba left Chelsea in 2014 to join Turkish side Besiktas before moving to China to team up with Shanghai Shenhua.

The forward, who has also previously featured for Goztepe, recently helped Istanbul Basaksehir to win the 2019-20 Super Lig title.

The centre-forward has made 22 appearances for Senegal, scoring four goals but was not part of the side that finished as runner-up in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.