Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba has hit out at José Mourinho, claiming the Portuguese boss worry more about footballer’s names than their performances, and revealed he was close to joining Arsenal last summer.
The Senegalese forward left Stamford Bridge earlier this summer to move to Besiktas after struggling to secure regular football at Chelsea during his season and a half at West London – having being signed by Rafa Benitez from Newcastle in January 2013.
Speaking in an interview with The Sun, Ba blamed Mourinho for his Chelsea failure as he opted to use both Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o ahead of him, just because of their names.
“Sometimes when you are at a club with a lot of big stars, the name counts for more than the statistics. Unfortunately, it was like that in my case,” said the 29-year-old.
“But I am happy I moved from Newcastle to Chelsea and achieved what I did. I have lots of friends there. Eden Hazard is one of my best friends, I am close to Branislav Ivanovic, too. All my wishes are for them to win the league.”
At the same time Ba revealed he was ready to join Arsenal during last summer, but Mourinho himself blocked the deal as he didn’t want to bolster a Premier League rival.
“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,’ said Ba.
“José (Mourinho) 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.”
Ironically, now Ba will face the Gunners in Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg with the aim of spoiling Arsenal’s party.
“Now I am playing Arsenal in such a big match. It’s crazy, but I’ve no regret on everything that happened.
“We will have a very tough game against Arsenal, but we want to go through to the Champions League spot and get the six matches in the group stages.”