When Demba Ba departs for the African Cup of Nations we’re going to be left with a problem. A pretty huge problem in fact.
Prolific is one word that can be used to describe Ba’s start to life in Tyneside. With 13 goals in his last 12 appearances Ba is leading the clubs scoring charts by some considerable distance.
At the moment he has the Midas touch and everything he hits either hits the target or the back of the net. Add to that the impressive all round play of the Senegalese forward and you can start to build a picture of just why we have started to become reliant on the 26-year-old.
Of course that isn’t a problem when the striker is fit or available to feature in club colours, but what is going to happen when he heads off to Africa? What happens if he picks up an injury? Quite honestly we’d be screwed.
We have Leon Best who can score goals. He’s proven it and went on a hell of a scoring run at the back end of last season and the start of this one, but he hasn’t scored since September and whilst he has been out injured it’s pretty noticeable that he hasn’t really looked like threatening the goal since his return.
Shola Ameobi is just Shola Ameobi. Predictably unpredictable. Peter Lovenkrands is out for three weeks. Hatem Ben Arfa is not an out and out striker and beyond that we’re relying on youth and reserve players. Even one of them (Nile Ranger) is out for eight weeks!
This is why it’s imperative that we sign a striker in January. Early in January aswell. With Ba off to the ACoN earlier than expected we’ll be left vulnerable and will have nobody to pop the ball in the back of the net. Had the Modibo Maiga deal not collapsed/been cancelled/pulled out of/whatever we’d have had one, but we’d have still been in the same boat in a few weeks time. We’d have two strikers at the ACoN instead of one.
I don’t doubt for one moment that we deliberately pulled out of the Maiga deal. I’m merely speculating of course but it all seems a little fishy to me and I believe we looked for a way out of the deal. Why pursue a player they were so interested in for so long if they were concerned about his knee?
My only hope is that we have somebody else lined up to replace him. Perhaps someone who represents a better deal for the club? Perhaps a better player than Maiga is available for less? Perhaps I’m overly hopeful and we won’t sign anyone? I’ll remain hopeful though, as ever.
Something needs to happen though as we’re shafted when Ba heads off!