Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion are reportedly interested in securing the services of former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba. The Senegalese national (who did not play in this year's AFCON) has been with Bestikas of the Turkish Süper Lig since the beginning of the season. And it's his work at Bestikas (as well as his previous work with Newcastle) that make him such an interesting target.
At Bestikas, in his first start this year, he bagged a hat trick in a Champions League qualifying match against Feyenoord. Though the club didn't advance to the group stages, Ba hasn't stopped scoring in European play as he's gotten five goals in the Europa League since then. And in Süper Lig play Ba has managed nine goals in fourteen matches (and one goal in one Turkish Cup match). That's eighteen goals since August. Pair that with his 29 goals in 57 appearances with Newcastle and you've got a player who could alter the face of Aston Villa's attack.
But there's two issues here. The first is that little aberration in his career while he was at Chelsea. In 51 appearances with the Blues, he "only" managed 14 goals. Now, by Aston Villa standards, that's still terrific, but it does represent a significant drop in form from his play before and after. The second issue is the money involved. When he moved from London to Turkey, he cost €6 million. That's not absurd for someone of his skill, but it may be out of the reach of Aston Villa.
Let's hope it's not, though. Ba may not be the greatest striker ever, but he would represent a significant upgrade over either of Andi Weimann or Gabby Agbonlahor, and could even be better than the barely-interested Christian Benteke. This rumour is still in the early stages, so I wouldn't lend it too much credence yet, but it's something worth keeping an eye on. If money isn't an issue, this is exactly the type of move that Paul Lambert has told us the club needs to be making.