Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba has spoken about his almost-move to Arsenal back in January 2013, suggesting he was still annoyed at Jose Mourinho for blocking the switch, according to France Football.
We needed a proven Premier League striker to get us some goals, and Ba was struggling for game time at Chelsea (you’d think players would learn to expect that when they sign for the Blues). It seemed like a good move for all concerned, but Mourinho had other ideas.
The Portuguese manager blocked the switch, and Ba continued to struggle at Chelsea, eventually moving to Besiktas at the end of the campaign and then to Shanghai Shenua a season later.
Speaking to France Football, he recounted the events and suggested he had missed out on a real opportunity.
“I think back to the day when Jose Mourinho blocked my Chelsea loan to Arsenal,” he said.
“It was the time of his return to the club, and I think it would have been a very good move. It happened on the last day of the transfer window.
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“I was in Paris, at rest, and Arsenal representatives called me to tell me it was going to happen. I then came back to London for the medical.
“Upon arriving, I was left surprised that Mr Mourinho had blocked my move to Arsenal. Mesut Ozil arrived, and to strengthen a competitor like Arsenal was very complicated if it worked.”
Mourinho obviously has plenty of experience when it comes to Özil, so knew he didn’t want to strengthen us more than we’d already strengthened ourselves. Ba wouldn’t be the top quality striker that we’ve needed for so long, but he definitely could have been a fantastic stop-gap.
His injury problems have always been an issue, but he certainly had a real eye for goal. Our lack of options up front often left us in a bad way, with Arsene Wenger forced to deploy players out of position or call on youngsters from the youth ranks. He’s also been left with no choice but to stick with underperforming stars, despite they poor displays suggesting they deserved to be dropped.
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You can understand Mourinho not wanting to sell or loan to a rival – especially given the flak Wenger took following Robin van Persie’s sale to Manchester United – but Ba is clearly still furious that he was denied a move which could have resurrected his career.