DEMBA Ba has been backed to bring goals to Newcastle after signalling his intent in English football.
Ba scored seven goals in 12 appearances for West Ham United after joining in January from Hoffenheim in a £7million deal.
However, his goals alone weren’t enough to keep the Upton Park club in the Premier League, and Newcastle took advantage of a release clause in the 26-year-old’s contract to sign him on a free transfer.
And assistant manager John Carver believes the powerful and pacy forward – who has signed a three-year deal at St James’s Park – will be a real asset to Alan Pardew next season, and beyond.
Having scored in a struggling team in his first few months in England, Carver is relishing seeing him in stronger side.
“Towards the end of the season Demba went on a real scoring run,” Carver said.
“He was scoring goals for a struggling team. He got seven goals in 12 appearances. He’s another great addition to what we have at the club.
“To score goals for a team that was struggling for its life near the relegation zone is quite an achievement, and we’re sure he’ll do well for this club.”
Pardew is looking to sign another striker to compete with Ba and the club’s other strikers, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Melvut Erding and Reading’s Shane Long among the club’s targets.
Ba will wear the No19 jersey next term, and it remains to be seen if the cherished No9 shirt will be handed out this season, or left unworn as it was during the club’s year in the Championship.
The jersey was last worn by Andy Carroll, and much of the £35million Liverpool paid for him in January is still to be reinvested in the squad.
While the rest of the club’s transfer business could take more time to push through, Carver is upbeat about the progress Newcastle have already made in strengthening their squad, with midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux having also joined United.
Chief scout Graham Carr has meticulously drawn up lists of targets over the past year, and Carver feels the club is well-prepared for the transfer window.
which officially opens at the end of the month.
“The process of identifying targets has been going on for a while, well before I came to the job,” Carver went on. “It’s been going on over a period of time, and obviously gathered pace towards the end of the season.
“We’re quite ahead of where the club has been in past years. There are things in place, and we’ve signed three players. The plan’s working.”