Arsenal transfer rumours are once again abuzz.
It has brought back Edin Dzeko and Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the picture. Marouane Chamakh has already been mentioned as a possible replacement.
Then there is Demba Ba of Hoffenheim. He was Vedad Ibisevic’s hunting partner and his 14 goals in 33 appearances helped the newly promoted club to a surprising 7th place finish. His Stuttgart deal has collapsed and he might be looking for a new club. According to the Daily Mail article, Arsenal have been following his career avidly. At 6’3″ he is physically imposing, very strong yet fleet of foot. This is how Ralf Ragnick, Hoffenheim’s coach describes him.
The 1.90 metre, 84 kilo heavy Ba encompases everything needed for a soccer player – ease and force, bulk and quickness, physique and elegance; crowbar and creativity – almost a mix between a gazelle and a cabinet. “Demba is a rangy guy but has loads of power as well,” said Rangnick.
Ragnick is a coach in the Wenger mold. He is also called the professor because of his reliance on diagrams as a TV commentator. Hoffenheim played his brand of attacking and up tempo football as players relied on few touches to drive up the pitch. He also brought in a diverse cast of fast and powerful players through extensive scouting across the world. Demba Ba should have an easier transition at Arsenal having being schooled in a similar sort of philosophy.
Ba also had a brief five month stint at Watford at age 18, so he does have a taste of English League football before moving onto second division Bundesliga club Hoffenheim in 2007 via the French and Belgian leagues.
Hoffenheim is where his career really took off and his 12 goals in his first season helped this small club located in a village with a population of little over 3000 to a historical first ever promotion to the top league. His transfer fee was 2.75 million euros. This of course must have gone up considerably with his goal scoring exploits but with the money from the Adebayor transfer we should be able to afford him leaving a substantial surplus.
His club stats >>
Examples of his creativity here and here