11th November – Arouna Kone

Arouna Kone followed Roberto Martinez from Wigan Athletic to Everton but unfortunately for the striker it looks as though he is never going to get the opportunity to show his true quality.

The striker is now behind Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto’o and Steven Naismith in the pecking order and this will be frustrating because he proved at Wigan that if he was given the opportunity he can be a consistent goalscorer in the Premier League. This is part of the reason why Martinez was desperate to take him to Goodison Park. It does look like Kone will have to move club in January if he is to get more playing time and there will be plenty of clubs in the Premier League interested in him.

Now 31, Kone started his career at his hometown club Rio Sport d’Anyama and after a very impressive 17 goals in 30 games, he was given the chance to join Belgian side Lierse SK during the 2002-03 season at the age of just 18. At his new club he was equally impressive and helped the club to a fifth place finish and was the team’s top scorer. This meant that once again he was being linked with moves away and he joined Dutch side Roda JC. Once again he settled into the league very quickly and in both his full seasons he hit double figures, including 15 in the 2004-05 season and after 28 goals in 63 games he was on the move again and in the summer of 2005 he joined PSV.

During the 2005-06 season he was in fantastic form and scored 11 goals in 21 games and followed this up with a further 10 goals in the next season, helping the team to win the Eredivisie title in both seasons. But unfortunately for the striker he contracted malaria at the end of July 2007 and after a mix up of dates he could not be match fit for the start of the season and this would mean the end of his time at the club.
Kone PSV
On the 30th August 2007 Kone joined Spanish side Sevilla and made his debut as a substitute against Recreativo de Huelva and won a penalty in a game that his side won 4-1. Nine days later he scored his first goal for the club against Espanyol and then on the 2nd October he scored his first Champions League goal in a 4-2 win over Slavia Prague. However, these turned out to be his only goals for the club in 47 games. So after falling out of favour Kone was loaned out to Hannover and he would go on to score on his debut against Hoffenheim in a 2-1 defeat. After seven more games and one goal he returned to his parent club and was once again loaned out, this time to Levante.
Kone Levante
Kone was very successful at Levante and scored his first goal for the club in a surprise 1-0 win over Real Madrid and would go on to be a regular scorer throughout the rest of the campaign, eventually finishing with 17 goals in all competitions. This convinced Wigan to sign the striker and he would go on to score his first Premier League goal in his first start for the club in a 2-0 win over Southampton. Despite the club getting relegated Kone still managed to score 11 league goals and was an important part of their FA Cup winning team.
Kone WA
With Wigan getting relegated and Roberto Martinez leaving it was inevitable that Kone would leave and on the 8th July 2013 he joined Everton but unfortunately he hasn’t been able to make much of an impact and after a knee cartilage injury in October he did not play again for the rest of the season.

The final word can go to Roberto Martinez. “Arouna is not a young boy. He is experienced and whatever happens he always shows for the ball and is really strong with his back to play. His record stands up well. He’s been successful in Holland and Spain. He will be important for us. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”


25th May – Demba Ba

Demba Ba became an unlikely hero for Chelsea towards the end of last season scoring important goals against PSG, Liverpool and Swansea.

His form towards the end of the season just made a lot of people wonder why Jose Mourinho hadn’t put him in the starting eleven a lot sooner. He has proven himself as a great goalscorer his whole career so it was strange to see him left out so often when Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o were not on form. But Ba is a player that bounces back after being left out and deemed not good enough as he proved early in his career when he first tried to join an English club. He was turned down by Watford, Barnsley, Swansea City and Gillingham before signing a one year deal with French club Rouen.

Ba was very successful at the club and in his one season he scored 22 goals in just 26 games before moving onto Belgian club Mouscron where he continued his good form and scored in his first three games. However Ba fractured his tibia and fibula and was ruled out for a long time but after eight months he eventually recovered and carried on where he left off by scoring another seven times in the next nine games.
Ba Hoff
In 2007 he moved onto Germany and signed for Hoffenheim, who were playing in the second tier at the time but his 12 league goals secured promotion to the Bundesliga in his first year. Both Ba and his club had a successful year after promotion the striker scored 14 times. Injuries once again began to catch up with him and he played fewer games over the next two seasons. But in his last half a season he scored 9 times in just 20 games before a dispute with the club meant he was wanting to leave.

They agreed a fee with Stoke City but unfortunately Ba failed a medical and Stoke pulled out of the deal. West Ham quickly signed him up and he did everything he could to keep them in the Premier League. He scored seven times in 12 games but a clause in his contract meant that when West Ham were relegated he could leave on a free transfer.

He signed for Newcastle United and proved once again that he was a great goalscorer and scored two hatricks in the first 11 games of the season with one of those coming against Stoke. Before leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations he was second top scorer in the Premier League with 15 goals and on his return from international duty he scored against Aston Villa. However, this proved to be his last goal of the season as he was moved out to the left wing to accommodate Papiss Cisse who ended up with 12 goals in just half a season.
Ba Newcastle
Ba was back on goalscoring form at the start of the new season by scoring a stunning volley against Tottenham Hotspur to win the game. By the time January came he around he was on 13 goals in 20 games but it was revealed he had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for just £7 million. Chelsea took advantage and on his debut for the club he scored twice in the FA Cup against Southampton and then scored on his home league debut against the same opposition. Ba only scored one more Premier League goal but did score a great goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers - Stamford Bridge
In the season just finished he didn’t get enough of a chance to make an impact but still managed eight goals in all competitions. He definitely did pop up with some important goals though and the Chelsea fans have not seen the best of him.

The final word can go to Alan Pardew. “Demba Ba has done very well since he came to England, and he’s a good player. He has pace, excellent technical ability, is good in the air and, it goes without saying, has the ability to consistently find the back of the net.”