Demba Ba has declared there was no comparison between Chelsea and Newcastle – or West Ham – after completing his move to the European champions.
The Blues announced the signing of Ba on a three-and-half-year contract on Friday morning after activating his release clause in his Magpies contract, the #7million value of which had controversially become public ahead of the transfer window.
It is the second time Ba has exploited such a clause since moving to English football, having been allowed to leave West Ham following their 2011 Barclays Premier League relegation.But he had no regrets about his career path, revealing he had said to himself, “Yes I’ve done it”, after being given permission to join Chelsea.
The Senegal star told the club’s official website, www.chelseafc.com:
“This club is at another level – it isn’t West Ham or Newcastle.”They are both big clubs with a strong history, but Chelsea is Chelsea and you cannot compare. It will be easier with world-class players around, who make the football look so easy.”
Ba’s first outing could well be Saturday’s FA Cup third-round trip to Southampton, with manager Rafael Benitez considering throwing his new signing straight in at the deep end.
Ba added: “Yesterday, I was looking back and smiling to myself, saying, ‘Yes, I’ve done it’.”I feel very proud, not only for me but the people who supported me over the years – my agent for instance who has been there since I was 15, my mum as well because when I skipped school she was afraid but today I am very proud for my family.”
Fernando Torres has started almost every game this season and Benitez will be keen to rest his fellow Spaniard for the cup tie in the wake of Daniel Sturridge’s move to Liverpool.
“With Sturridge leaving, Fernando as just the main striker was always a problem,” said Benitez, who refused to comment on other potential arrivals.
“We have now a different option, a player that maybe can play even behind Fernando, maybe with Fernando, maybe on his own.”
Meanwhile Jack Cork has thanked Chelsea’s old guard for their “invaluable” guidance ahead of the Southampton midfielder’s first match against his former club.The 23-year-old, who is the son of former Wimbledon forward Alan, joined the west Londoners aged nine and went on to graduate from their academy system. However, Cork never made a first-team appearance for a Blues side awash with star names following the arrival of billionaire Roman Abramovich.
He went on loan to six different clubs in a bid to impress before eventually making a permanent move to Southampton in 2011. Cork gets the opportunity to face Chelsea for the first time and admits it is a special game for him.
“I am looking forward to playing against them,” he said. “I never got the opportunity to play with them when I was there so hopefully we can go and put a good performance in. I am looking forward to seeing some old faces.”
The main person I still speak to there is Ryan Bertrand.
He was sort of the same age as me and has had some good performances and been able to get a few little runs in the team.
“It will be good to see him and a few of the older players as well as they were quite good to me when I was at Chelsea.”