Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Demba Ba for an undisclosed fee.
The Senegal international moves to Stamford Bridge following an 18-month spell with Newcastle United, and has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Blues.
He will be eligible for selection for tomorrow’s FA Cup match at Southampton, and the Capital One Cup semi-final against Swansea, but cannot play for us in the Europa League this season having appeared in the competition for Newcastle. He will wear the no. 29 shirt.
‘It feels good to be here, I’m very happy and very proud,’ Ba says.
‘It was important for me, and for Newcastle, to get my future sorted and now we can move on. Now they have the whole month to buy someone and for me as well, the sooner the better. Now I am here I just need to get settled in.
‘When the club who won the Champions League wants you, the decision is very easy. This club is massive and that’s something that helped the decision a lot. It was not a hard one.’
The 27-year-old enjoyed a memorable time on Tyneside, where his ruthlessness in front of goal played a major part in last season’s fifth-place league finish.
Most comfortable playing as a lone striker, Ba’s predatory instincts in and around the penalty area make him a difficult player to handle and he also possesses the ability to score spectacular goals.
Born in Sevres, in the suburbs of Paris, Ba’s career began at Port Autonome du Havre, where he played for two years between 1998 and 2000, before moving to Frileuse.
After a short spell with the French club, Ba, who started out playing in the centre of midfield but moved up front at the age of 18, transferred to Montrouge in 2001.
It was there he began to make a name for himself, and he then headed to England where he was offered trials with Barnsley and Watford.
Having enjoyed a fruitful relationship with former Chelsea player Ray Lewington, who was Watford manager at the time, it looked as though Ba had found a place to settle.
However, when Lewington left soon after, Ba moved back to France where he signed a one-year deal with Rouen in the Third Division.
A return of seven goals in 32 matches earned him a move to Mouscron, in the Belgian top flight, where an impressive albeit short spell paved the way for his transfer to 1899 Hoffenheim in the German Second Division at the beginning of the 2007/08 campaign.
It was to prove a significant time in Ba’s development, and he was a key figure in helping the club gain promotion to the Bundesliga.
Their first season back in the top flight saw Hoffenheim finish in a respectable seventh, aided in no small part by Ba’s 14 goals.
In January 2011, he was back in England, and signed for West Ham United.
After making his bow for the Hammers as a substitute in a game against Birmingham City, Ba endeared himself to the supporters a week later on his full debut, where his two goals helped West Ham fight back from 3-0 down to earn a 3-3 draw away at West Bromwich Albion.
On a personal level, his time at Upton Park went well, with seven goals in 12 appearances, but collectively the team underperformed resulting in their relegation from the Barclays Premier League, prompting Ba’s move to Newcastle United.
He netted two hat-tricks in quick succession, against Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, at the beginning of the 2011/12 season.
This impressive start to life at St James’s Park was rewarded with the Premier League Player of the Month award in December 2011, and he finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 16 goals to his name.
The current campaign saw Ba continue where he left off, as he broke the deadlock with a fantastic volley against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of the season, while shortly after his brace at Goodison Park helped Alan Pardew’s men secure a well-earned 2-2 draw against Everton.
His last performance in a Newcastle shirt came in the weekend’s 7-3 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates where he netted a brace.
Thus far, he has scored 13 Premier League goals this season.
Ba has established himself as a regular in the Senegal international set-up since scoring on his debut back in 2007 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania.
He has scored four times for his country and becomes the first Senegalese player to join Chelsea.
A full interview with Demba Ba will appear on the official Chelsea website shortly.