- Squad No: 29
- Position: Forward
- Age: 28
- Birth Date: May 25, 1985
- Birth Place: Sevres, France
- Height: 1.89m
- Weight: 84 kg
Signing for Chelsea from Newcastle in the 2013 January transfer window, Ba completed a rise that occured in only a few small years in England.
When he began his career in France, he suffered and failed to make the most of trials at Lyon and Auxerre. Choosing to look further afield, he signed for Watford as a young player in 2005, but found himself let go once Ray Lewington was sacked.
Returning to France, he signed for Rouen on a one-year contract, and Ba enjoyed a highly successful season with the club, scoring 22 goals in 26 games to showcase his potential. Belgian club Mouscron snapped him up at the end of the season, but a serious injury kept him sidelined and he was forced to move to the German second division with Hoffenheim to regain his footballing skills.
Ba immediately made an impact and helped the side back to the Bundesliga. His goals propelled them up the table and they finished seventh in their first season back in the top flight and he caught the attention of Senegal, who called him up to their squad – scoring on his debut against Tanzania in June 2007.
A disagreement with Hoffenheim saw him seek a move, but he failed a medical with Stuttgart and turned his attentions again to England. Stoke came close, but the striker failed another medical, leading Tony Pulis to say: “Obviously they found something which could cause problems later”. West Ham pounced and offered him a pay-as-you-play deal, which he accepted in January 2011.
Seven goals in 12 games ensured that attention was back on his football, and not his knees, and Ba chose to leave the Hammers when Newcastle came calling in July. Proving that he was no injury crock, Ba blossomed at St James’ Park and forged himself a reputation as one of the most potent strikers in the Premier League over the next two seasons.
When 2012-13 arrived, he was linked with moves to a host of top clubs who had found that he had a £7.5 million release clause in his contract. Chelsea were the first to make an approach and he secured a move to the European champions in January 2013.
Strengths: Power and pace, he is a strong finisher inside the box and boasts plenty of strength to hold off defenders.
Weaknesses: His injury problems (and his knees) are a concern for his long-term future, while his loyalty and the plethora of agents surrounding him can make it hard to deal with him.
Career high: With 13 goals in 20 appearances at the start of 2012-13, he put himself among the best.
Career low: The end of his career at Hoffenheim was bitter and his failed medicals at Stoke saw many question his future.
Style: Powerful, quick, strong, a deadly finisher who is always thinking of a shot.
Quote: “The only thing I can do is play every week and prove people wrong but I am not playing football to prove people wrong. Even if I play 70 games this season and score 50 goals, people will still talk about it. I am at the point where it doesn’t matter what they think.”Demba Ba, November 2012
Trivia: Ba has insisted that he wants to keep No. 19 for the rest of his career as it was special to him, for reasons he would possibly reveal after he had retired.