Demba Ba has insisted that he is extremely happy with life on Tyneside and revealed that he found speculation linking him with a move away from Newcastle in January funny.
The speculation was brought about by Harry Redknapp mainly, who made it public knowledge that there is a release clause in Ba’s contract although the true extent and details of the clause are unknown.
Ba has been superb since he got settled on Tyneside and hasn’t stopped scoring since. He’s notched 16 goals so far this season and adds so much to our front line. With him and new signing Papiss Cisse up front we have two dangerous dedicated forwards for the first time in a long time. Let’s hope they both stick around for a while!
“I never talked to anyone to say I wanted to leave,” said Ba. “I was just listening to people saying ‘He’s going there, he’s going there, he’s going there’ and I had a big smile on my face. It was funny to me. The most important thing is being happy with your football and I am happy here.”
Ba then turned his attention to Tottenham at the weekend and believes that we can go to White Hart Lane and spring what would be a surprise by bringing home all three points.
“We go there and believe we can win,” said the former West Ham man. “I look at the table and think ‘Fifth, woah.’ Now we just need to continue our road, continue what we are doing. We need to keep our focus but, as long as we do that, we’ll be dangerous.”
The thing is, we now have the firepower to worry teams and can cause our own problems for just about any team in the league. The fact that both strikers found the back of the net on their return from the African Cup of Nations demonstrates this, and the good thing is that it will only improve as they both settle into life back at the club.
A lot has been said of Papiss Cisse’s goal already. It was a cracker. Instinctive, accurate, unstoppable. It shows what a real clinical striker can do and I can’t wait to see him doing more of the same. I don’t think there is a Newcastle fan out there who isn’t happy with Cisse’s arrival, but what makes it better is the fact that Demba Ba told him all about it.
“I am really, really happy for Papiss,” he said. “It’s really important to score for a new club early on; when you come in and score right away you feel much better. It helps a lot and his was a goal of real class on the perfect return to Newcastle for me. It was such a good day; there wasn’t even too much snow.”
Ba added: “Papiss was a great signing for us. I was really happy when he signed because I talked to him a little bit beforehand. I just said, ‘Go on. Sign.’ He asked everything about Newcastle, about the supporters and the club but I’ve not told him everything because I wanted him to see for himself what it’s like here. I think he loved the reception he got but he hasn’t seen anything yet.”
It’s safe to say that Ba has done enough to earn the number nine shirt and few people had already said that he should be given it next season. However Ba is happy with his current number 19, and was happy for Papiss Cisse to take the number nine straight away.
“I always said that I wanted to keep my number 19,” said Ba. “I always said that, if someone comes in and you want to give him No9, don’t even ask me – just give it to him if he wants it. The manager asked me if I didn’t mind it going to Papiss. I said just give it to him if it helps to sign him.”
“Papiss is a very quiet guy, all the fuss and hype will not affect him. I’ve told him everything about the No9 shirt here but I’ve always said it is just a number.”
Great words from Ba, although I’m still concerned about the summer. We’ve been here before with quotes from players who are happy at the club only to end up moving on…
What we need to do is get Ba sorted on a new contract, a contract without a clause. I know there is his knee to consider, but the fact is that he hasn’t had any problems with it for years now and has done alright for us thus far. He’s earned a new deal, and if we’re honest a career ending injury can happen to anyone at any time regardless of any history or potential for problems.
If we can keep this squad together and add a bit more quality and depth in the summer we could be setup for some interesting times ahead.
And keeping hold of Demba Ba will be pivotal to that!