Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba has revealed that manager Jose Mourinho blocked a move for him to go Arsenal last season.
The forward said the Chelsea boss didn't want him to join Arsenal because he knew he could score goals for the Gunners. Arsenal finished just three points behind Chelsea last season as they were both contenders in the title race.
Ba - who left Chelsea this summer to join Turkish side Besiktas - has also reflected on why he wasn't given more opportunities to start up front for the club.
The Senegal striker joined Chelsea from Newcastle for around £7 million in January 2013, scoring a total of 14 goals in 51 appearances. Some of his goals came in big games for Chelsea including the Champions League quarter-final against PSG, an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United as well as in a memorable away win for the side against Liverpool last season.
But Ba could be plying his trade at the Emirates Stadium instead of in Turkey as he was speaking ahead of the two side's meeting in the Champions League play-off tomorrow evening, but Mourinho didn't want to give a rival more striking options, especially given that they had signed a playmaker of the quality of Mesut Ozil.
He is quoted by Sky Sports: “I always said the move to Arsenal was close. I thought the deal was done and I would just go and do the medical but it went another way.
“Jose has said why it didn’t happen. He was honest, he just didn’t want to give them a striker who could score goals, especially with the arrival of Ozil.
“Now I am playing Arsenal in such a big match. It’s crazy but I’ve no regret on everything that happened.”
Last season Ba was in direct competition with Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres for the role of leading the line for Chelsea last season, with his two fellow forwards getting more opportunities up front. Torres remains at the club whilst Eto'o is a free agent, and Ba thinks their reputation had a big say in ensuring they were given more opportunities leading the Chelsea attack
The 29-year-old added: “Sometimes when you come in a team where there are a lot of big names, how can I say this, the name plays more than the statistics.
“And, unfortunately, I think it was my case. But like I say, I have no regret on anything or anyone’s decision to play me or not."
Would Ba have been a useful signing for Arsenal?