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LFC Scout Report: Demba ba
We continue our look at players linked with a move to Anfield in the forthcoming January transfer window. Under the spotlight today is another forward as Brendan Rodgers seeks to find solutions to his lack of attacking options.
Date of birth: 25 May 1985 (age 27)
Place of birth: Sèvres, France
National team: Senegal
Playing position: Striker
Previous clubs: Rouen, Mouscron, Hoffenheim, West Ham, Newcastle
WHEN your squad has only two senior strikers (one of whom is out injured) and your team is struggling to put away chances it becomes more than painfully obvious that a striker is required, not only to bolster the attacking options and numbers but to help finish off the numerous chances that are created. Every man and his dog knows that Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers require a new striker therefore we take a look at one of the most lethal strikers in the league currently, Demba Ba.
Demba Ba was born in France with Senegalese descent and is the sixth born out of seven in a large family. Playing from a young age he played for a number of youth teams and even had a spell at Watford. Early on in his career whilst playing for Port Autonome du Havre and Frileuse, Demba Ba played predominantly as a defensive midfielder, it was only when he moved back to his birth place and played for the local team Montrouge that he started playing as a striker, a move that would see him eventually shape into the lethal striker he is today despite his early difficulties in adapting to the role.
Ba struggled to find a professional club after his youth years; he had numerous trials with numerous teams including Watford and Lyon but kept getting knocked back he finally got his breakthrough with Roeun making sure the people who offered him a one year contract didn’t regret it by hitting 22 goals in 26 games. He then signed for Mouscron where he scored 8 goals in 12 games but unfortunately fractured his tibia and fibula. Despite this set back 1899 Hoffenheim deemed him worthy enough to part with 3 million Euros for, he scored 37 goals in 97 games before his move to England where I’m sure you all know what he has done since with both West Ham and Newcastle.
Ba is the one-in-two man, over the course of his career he averages around one goal in two games with a career total of 108 goals in 225 games.
The strengths of Ba are that he is a player who knows where the goal is as he has shown at every club he has been at. He is a player with strength and pace and surprising agility as well. He is the definition of an out and out striker; left-foot, right-foot, header and long-range you name it he can score it.
You only have to watch Newcastle play to see how good of a striker he is, 11 goals this season already and at the age of 27 he is a player who is coming into his peak and his best years. Ba can be much more than just a finisher; he has the physical presence to bully most defenders in an aerial battle or test of strength. He has the pace, intelligence and experience to make clever runs in behind the defence and he knows how to work the channels. He has that uncanny ability of being in the right place at the right time which all good strikers seem to have. Not to mention his seeming willingness to work hard for the team when out of possession.
With a reported release clause of £7million in his contract and with Newcastle struggling this season, not to mention our inability to finish off chances, the prospect of signing a clinical finisher such as Ba for a small amount has to be a big prospect for the club.
So what you might be asking are the weaknesses of a player such as Ba? The weakest parts of his game are in his build up play, coming deep and linking up play. Ba is a player who is used to a more direct style of play running channels, holding the ball up and running in behind the defence.
It’s up for debate if Rodgers is willing to have such a player in the team who is likely to offer not much in terms of build-up play, you won’t for example see too many nutmegs, tricks and skills in the style of Suarez from Ba.
Then of course there is the issue of Ba medically, he has failed medicals at Stoke and VFB Stuttgart which makes signing him a little bit more risky. However it could still be a risk worth taking as his performances never seems to be affected. Then of course there is the issue of the African Cup and losing Demba Ba for a month during one of the busiest parts of the season. Although Senegal failed to qualify this year.
What can Ba offer this Liverpool team? The answer is simple really – goals, goals and more goals. In my opinion I have no doubt that if we had Ba in our team that a lot of those chances we seem to frustratingly waste would be in the net. He is deadly and clinical, get the ball to him in and around the box and it won’t take much for him to put it in the back of the net. He is a goal scorer and for me a goal scorer is exactly what we need.
Demba Ba the one-in-two man.