Demba Ba to Chelsea: Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew Confirms Sale of Striker

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2013

Demba Ba is heading to Chelsea. Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew confirms the club have sold the talented striker to the Blues in the opening days of the January transfer window:

#nufc boss Alan Pardew said:"It is done, he will go to Chelsea. Good luck to him."

— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) January 2, 2013

The 27-year-old Senegal international emerged as one of the most reliable goal scorers in the Premier League over the past season and a half. He has scored 29 goals over that span for the Magpies, who will sorely miss his contributions.

Ba is a special player. He has shown a unique ability to create space and rarely fails to capitalize on an opportunity in the attacking third. Add in the pace to get behind defenders and it's easy to see why he became a coveted transfer target.

Although his ability to change the course of a match in the blink of an eye is obvious, what will be interesting is seeing how he handles the increased pressure following a high-profile transfer. It's going to be unlike anything he has dealt with during his career.

Not to take away anything he accomplished with Newcastle, but it's easier to produce outside of the spotlight. While he won't be able to avoid it moving forward, he will still be expected to score goals at the same rate. Right now, he's only a few off the EPL lead.

Even though Ba won't be able to avoid the immense pressure associated with the move, there's no reason to believe he won't continue to play like one of the league's top strikers. He has handled every challenge thrown his way so far, and that's likely to continue.

The only question is how he'll be utilized. While Ba has excelled as a striker, he can also play on the wing if needed, which allows for more lineup possibilities. The club must stick with whatever decision gets made in order to ensure he goes through a smooth transition.

All told, now that the move is complete, it's up to Ba to prove he was worth the investment.