Demba Ba came close to joining Arsenal this summer…
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Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba has told reporters that he came close to joining Arsenal, before he sealed a switch to Turkish side Besiktas this summer.
Ironically, Ba was then drawn to face the Gunners in the Champions League, and stood out as his team’s star player as the North London side eventually secured a 1-0 aggregate win.
According to Goal.com the Gunners looked set to sign the striker on loan during the January transfer window last season but the deal fell through, with Blues boss Jose Mourinho unwilling to strengthen a rival club without having sufficient cover.
“I’m happy at Besiktas,” he told reporters after the Champions League clash. “How close did I come to joining Arsenal? As close as you and me here, but it’s past. I just look forward.
“Everybody knew that I wanted to come here [to Arsenal]. I could have maybe waited longer in this transfer window but I wanted to go and play for Besiktas because it’s a great club.”
Despite Mourinho’s unwillingness to let Ba join Arsenal last January, the striker says that the Blues boss would have sanctioned a switch to the Emirates Stadium this summer, but the Gunners failed to follow up their interest.
“Yes, [he would have let me join Arsenal], because this time Jose told me,” he explained. “Last summer he wanted to keep me, but he said this time, if I had any opportunity, he would let me go.”