With all the rumours going on about possibly trying to get Demba Ba back off of Chelsea, it got me thinking. David Gold has, to my surprise, confirmed that we are in the market to get another striker to partner Big Andy up front, after he signed permanently. But do we need a striker to partner him?
Now the Andy Carroll signing was brilliant news, as in all my time watching West Ham he’s the only striker who’s able to bring the ball down or flick it on, with the intelligence to know what he’s doing. Which is a nice change really, seeing as we’ve been subjected to players like Carlton Cole, Frederic Piquionne and John Carew up top recently, all of which seemed to have an inability to even jump at times. But all of last season, we played this one striker system, with Carroll the target man, and the midfielders backing him up, especially with Nolan feeding off of him, and this was a system that worked. So if we’re trying to bring in a player like Demba to feed off Carroll, it would be a good partnership but the system would be lost.
By partnering someone up front with Carroll, we would have to lose one of Nolan, Noble or Diame from the middle of the park, and I’m still a fan of Gary O’Neil too, so he would hardly get a look in if he signs his contract. Plus, Jack Collison would find it hard to force his way in the middle, and would have to play on the wing, which I never really thought suited him.
Really, for me, I would love to see Demba back, if we are changing system. He is a proven goal scorer at the top flight, started last season on fire at Newcastle, and you have to be decent to earn a move to Chelsea. Scoring 19 goals in all last year, he would definitely be a good addition to the squad, and get us plenty of goals. Out of all the strikers we are linked with, I would definitely go for either Demba or Gary Hooper. But if bringing in this other striker means changing our whole system that got us a top ten finish last year, without Carroll even playing for large parts of last year, I’m more than tempted to inherit the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude.
Plus, after witnessing the reception we gave Demba at Stamford Bridge last season, it wouldn’t be a smooth process welcoming him back with some of the fans. Personally, I thought that was harsh on Ba, he gave his all when we signed him, scored a few goals, and if anyone was going to save us that year, Demba would have been the man. Even Scotty Parker had given up interest by about February, but Demba got those two goals at Wigan, two at West Brom, and was one of the very few positive things about our club that season. And as for how he left, who can blame him? He was being offered a contract at a huge club like Newcastle, and we had a horrific, disinterested squad that got relegated quite embarrassingly out of the top flight. It was an easy decision, and any of us in his shoes would have done the same thing.
So, I don’t have a problem welcoming Demba back at all if the rumours turn out to be true, but I would have a problem changing a winning system that worked last year. I would much rather we look into a new winger. Matt Jarvis did ok last season, but there’s much more to come you would think, but I’m not really happy playing Ricardo Vaz Te or Matty Taylor at the moment on the other wing, with the poor seasons I thought they had last year. He might not be the most exotic name, but I’d much prefer to drop the idea of a striker to partner Carroll, like Ba, and go for Shaun Maloney from Wigan. The service he could give would be brilliant, he is quality with a dead ball, and I just feel a signing like that would give more to the team in my opinion. That’s just my opinion though, and at the end of the day, Demba is a natural finisher, something we don’t really have, so if Big Sam has his mind set on another striker, I’d be more than happy to welcome Demba back.