West Ham chief delivers transfer update on striker pursuit, this stopped deal
By Matt Farr
West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan has admitted that the club tried to bring Demba Ba back to east London this month.
The Senegal international spent six months at West Ham in 2011, netting seven goals in 13 appearances as the club were relegated from the Premier League.
The 31-year-old currently plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League, but has seen his first-team appearances this season restricted due to injury.
Hammers chief Sullivan admitted that club had looked into the possibility of bringing Ba back to the Premier League, but were unable to strike a deal due to his current injury status.
As quoted by West Ham’s official Twitter account, Sullivan said: “We looked to bring Demba Ba back in this window but were told he was 3 weeks from playing after recovering from his injury.”
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DS: "We looked to bring Demba Ba back in this window but were told he was 3 weeks from playing after recovering from his injury."
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 31, 2017
Had he re-joined West Ham, Ba would also have linked up with former boss Slaven Bilic, who he worked under at Besiktas.
But he is now expected to return to the Turkish club on loan until the end of the season to regain his fitness.
Ba has been a proven goalscorer wherever he’s been, with 126 goals in 266 games.
A striker has been high on the agenda for West Ham this month, but despite having money to re-invest following the sale of Dimitri Payet to Marseille for £25million, Slaven Bilic is unlikely to splash out on deadline day.
The Hammers appeared to be leading the race to sign Brentford’s Scott Hogan, however, their interest in the Championship forward has since died down. Aston Villa are now the favourites.
They also failed in their attempts to sign Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe.
Ashley Fletcher had been linked with a loan move to Championship outfit Leeds, but is now likely to stay at the club as backup to Andy Carroll with no pending goalscoring arrival.
Football Insider verdict
Sullivan’s admission comes as a fair surprise, as despite all the speculation linking various strikers to West Ham this month, Demba Ba was certainly not one of them. Ba does have a knack of picking up injuries, which was one of the issues raised by West Ham when they signed him six years ago; but he showed that he could still be the prolific goalscorer they were after. Even if he did last just six months. The club would have liked to have kept him on board, but their relegation from the top-flight allowed him to leave for free. He fits the bill for West Ham as a proven Premier League goalscorer. But sadly, there will be no homecoming for Ba this month, because of his injury concerns, and Hammers fans will be left wondering what might have been for their former goalscorer.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club have received an emphatic response in their reported pursuit of this Chelsea ace.