NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Demba Ba of Newcastle reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at the Sports Direct Arena on May 6, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Warning: The information in this post is sourced from the Mirror, so it may not be entirely reliable. That said, reporting a buyout is a completely different proposition to writing a rumour, so it's not Mirror-standard unreliable. Probably.
Defending European champions (that's so fun to say!) Chelsea might have decided that Fernando Torres is their first-choice striker for the 2012/13 season, but they're probably not entirely comfortable with relying on him, especially if Romelu Lukaku goes on loan. The probably-incoming Hulk will help, but he's not a pure centre forward and would be better off out wide, and Daniel Sturridge hasn't proven he can lead a line either.
That means Chelsea should probably be on the lookout for another true centre forward. It's not a major need, so I'm not sure we should be spending big money on the likes of Radamel Falcao (who is awesome) unless we can swap Torres out in the process, but it's certainly a position where any depth would be very welcome. And therefore a cheap, solid purchase would seem like a very good idea.
Enter Demba Ba. The Mirror is reporting that the Newcastle United forward, who scored more league goals than Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres combined last season, is available on a relatively cheap buyout clause for the next two months. Now, we've seen imaginary buyout clauses reported before, but this isn't your standard rumour - it's very specific and regards a player that the English press should be pretty familiar with. I'd be surprised if the reports, which claim that Ba can be had for £7M between May 31st and July 31st, were untrue.
I don't think Ba is as good as most do - he's not bad, of course, but he's nowhere near the talent Papiss Cisse is. But if Torres fails to break out of his slumber, we'll need an average centre forward to pick up the pieces, and Ba certainly qualifies there. I could see him scoring by the bucketload with a full season of service from Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, and he'd be well worth the £7M and a roster spot if Lukaku does leave on loan.
The problem is that he'd have to want to come to Chelsea. Presumably there will be other offers, with Tottenham Hotspur mentioned in the Mirror piece, and they'd be able to offer significantly more playing time than would the Blues after their public commitment to make Torres their primary centre forward. Could we be in the picture with a competitive wage package? Yep. Should we be interested in acquiring him for £7M plus wages? Yep again. Will be beat out a team that desperately needs a striker? I'm not so sure.
But it'll be interesting to see how things play it. It's funny that this buyout clause, if true, has put Newcastle in a position where one of their more important players is available to basically everyone but them, and for relatively cheap at that. I hate buyout clauses.