Demba Ba was an excellent player for Newcastle United.

He scored 16 goals in 32 Premier League starts (plus 2 as a sub) in his one full (2011/12) season as Newcastle finished a surprise fifth.

Then did even better with 13 goals in only 19 PL starts (and 1 as sub) in 2012/13, then left for Chelsea in January 2013.

As well as being a very good striker for Newcastle, he was also very frustrating.

Harry Redknapp bizarrely revealing to everybody in the first week of January 2012 that Demba Ba had a release clause of well under £10m.

So from the very first transfer window after he arrived, fans were ever fearful that he would leave.

We survived the January 2012 and Summer 2012 windows but the striker jumped ship after only 18 months and 29 goals in 51 PL starts (plus 3 as sub), to go and sit on the bench at Chelsea.

There were constant media stories that Demba Ba was willing to allow his £7.5m release clause to be taken out of the contract, in return for higher wages. Mike Ashley refused.

Newcastle could hardly complain they had got a bad deal, as they picked up Ba for nothing due to a release clause he’d insisted on when joining relegation threatened West Ham midway through the 2010/11 season. The Hammers went down and Newcastle didn’t have to pay a transfer fee, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye recruited that summer and the key players as NUFC finished fifth.

Which brings us to the present day.

Mikel Merino is leaving after Real Sociedad activated his £10m release clause and Newcastle United can’t do anything about it. Just as with Demba Ba though they can’t complain.

Rafa Benitez explaining that the only reason why Newcastle were able to sign Merino, was because he had a similar release clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract.

You get the feeling that the writing  was on the wall once Diame and Shelvey clicked together.

Mikel Merino only got one start after January and that was when Rafa played a changed team away at Liverpool.

I think the manager knew the Spanish Under 21 star was intending to leave some months before the end of the season. Otherwise surely he would at least have given him a couple of games once safety was assured with five or six games to go. Mikel Merino was hardly even used as a sub in those final months, only getting four brief bits of game time off the bench from February to May.

At least one thing in his favour is that Merino is going for the chance to play more football, whilst money was always top of Demba Ba’a agenda.

I don’t wish him badly but it will be hard to take if Mikel Merino becomes the kind of player he hinted at in those first couple of months of last season.

Rafa Benitez on impending departure of Mikel Merino:

“It was a pity because obviously he wanted to play more football.

“He’s a young player and he struggled to get back into the team because Diame and Shelvey were doing so well.

“That meant Merino didn’t get much game time.

“Then we have had three or four Spanish clubs who were interested in him.

“In the end, it was something we couldn’t control because he decided to go.

“We knew that this could happen, so we had to be prepared – and in the end we were….

“Ki Sung-yueng will bring experience, experience in the Premier League, and he has quality.

“Mikel was a young player with great potential but now we have a player who has been there before.

When we first signed Mikel, people forget that the reason we got him from Borussia Dortmund was because he had this condition too.

“He had a release clause which he could use if he was not playing as much as he wanted.

“In this case we did that and he was playing really well for us, I was really pleased with him at the beginning of the season.

“After he had the injury, when he went two months without playing, he played less –  Jonjo and Diame did really well.

“But that is football and we move on.”

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Best striker we’ve had here since Shearer

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Just shows how the Pig runs the club when the last good striker we had was
    Demba Ba

  • Peaky

    For once and for all it’s NOT coming home and NEVER was… let’s just sit back and enjoy Ashley letting Rafa spend £100m

    • Wor Lass

      It`s coming chez nous! (unfortunately)

      • Peaky

        Saw Paul Simon on Tuesday in Manchester….still tremendous and glad to say the voice is still strong….McCartney in Glasgow next in December….

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Get a life 😂😂😂

        • Wor Lass

          Paul Simon – legend. Can`t stand “Macca”.

  • kingfisher

    Well said Peaky.

  • Toon

    Newcastle ‘STAR’? Merino? Looked ok for one or two games but then didn’t seem to fancy it, star is typical sensationalism, wouldn’t get into anyone’s team if the season etc

    • Wor Lass

      If they play for the Toon they`re a star to the Chron – if they`re young and show any promise at all they`re a “wonderkid”.

  • Lostprofit DBC

    Easy come easy go. You get these players cheap for a reason, they often go for the same reason…

  • kingfisher

    The press are calling England “heroes” this morning,what a load of shyte.Overhyped as usual.They played 6 matches, (FIFA rankings in brackets)won 3 in normal time : Tunisia (21).Panama (55) and Sweden (24).1 after penalties : Colombia (16) and lost 2: Belgium (3) Croatia (20).

    Now if they had beaten some of the big boys along the way such as Argentina, Brazil etc then there would be some reason to celebrate, but to claim we had a good World Cup and they are heroes, when we’ve had one of the easiest draws for years is diabolical.Typical over the top tub thumping, flag flying, false Nationalism. For Gods sake get a grip !

    • Wor Lass

      They`re a young and relatively inexperienced team and they did a lot better than most people on here predicted even when they knew who the opposition would be. “They`ll be on the first plane home” was a pretty common judgement three weeks or so ago. They got done because the opposition had “been there, done that” and knew how to keep their nerve and because we can`t score enough goals. They deserve credit for what they did but it needs to be seen in context – gaining experience for the future. That was what Southgate and the FA wanted and it worked well. As more of the young lads who won their world cups get fed into the team we`ll get better.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        There`s £100m & £50m players in that England team all playing in the toughest league in the World.
        in 2 years time it will be the same story, as for the manager he didn`t have a plan B

        • Wor Lass

          Like a lot of people, you didn`t think they`d get out of the group stage. Playing tournament football at international level is a bit different from lording it over the 14 or 15 ordinary teams in the PL and that`s part of what they needed to learn.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            I always said we`d get out of the group, i went on to say as soon as we meet a decent team we`re out

      • Billmag

        It could also go the other way and think they are better than they really are.

        • Wor Lass

          I think that loss to Croatia will have brought them back down to earth. With good young players like Loftus-cheek, Brewster, Foden, Maitland-Niles, Gomez, Sancho and Sessegnon – to name just a few -ready to start feeding through, the future looks quite exciting. The question is, can Gareth be more than a media seensation?

          • Billmag

            Let’s hope so we could do with some potential Gazza’s coming through.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      100% agree with you,
      Luca Modric in a post match interview said
      England underestimated us and we were the better team

      • Wor Lass

        Modric was MoM. We didn`t underestimate them in the first half, we just didn`t score the goals we should have done. They were rubbish and we should have been out of sight but they improved second half and we went backwards. Not enough goals in the squad, as i`ve said all along, and not enough strength on the bench.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Tactics, Croatias manager changed the setup our`s didn`t or couldn`t

          • Wor Lass

            Couldn`t, I think – lack of strength in depth.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose


          • Mike Adam

            Sat back and invited attack to start the second half, loser tactics/mentality IMO.

        • Gordonthetoony

          For me one of the issues all along was variety of midfield players. All very much alike. Against Croatia we constantly used Sterling as the out ball hitting it long to use his pace. This is where s Shelvey would have come into his own. I would also have subbed Kane for Vardy as he too has pace, but no, Gareth was too one dimensional. Modric was bossing everything yet no Dier type to throttle him man to man marking. Croatia had no other creative midfielder.
          Lets hope Gareth learns from this.

    • joe mac

      exactly!….first decent team we played we got found out!

  • Wor Lass

    “… but the striker jumped ship after only 18 months ….. to go and sit on the bench at Chelsea.” Two things, Jackie. He didn`t exactly jump ship – he got fed up of playing as a battering ram to enable Cisse to score goals. Secondly, like any successful footballer it didn`t enter his head that he would end up sitting on the bench. Why do people feel the need to slag off anyone who leaves the club in an effort to play at a higher level?

    • Tony English

      Exactly. He’d been messed around playing wide for half a season to accommodate Cisse, a position he could be switched back to at any moment under a confused Pardew and Carver.

      He went to challenge at the top of the table and play for Rafa.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    as soon as the match finished last night Nut case said, that`s wor lass supporting France on Sunday then, Flags all over the shop

    • Wor Lass

      My flag`s disappeared this morning! Sacre Bleu! I`ll have to make a Croatian one for Sunday.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        i`ll tell him, now off you go to buy the France top for Sunday

  • Mrkgw

    Merino seems to have the traits of a quitter and will be none other than a footballing journeyman, making his money from these clauses. Whatever happened to loyalty in football?

  • SH.ER

    Well, Now we know why Dortmund kicked him out

  • Toon 83

    Ba went to Chelsea because he wanted to play for a big club. Merino is going because he wants to play more. I don’t have any bad feelings towards either of them.

  • kingfisher

    Talking about flag flying,The Scots could teach the English a thing or two about having pride in their country. Having been to Scotland regularly over the last ten years,I never cease to be amazed at how many people have the Scottish flag flying throughout the year, not only when Scotland are playing in the final stages of a major footballing competition, which obviously isn’t very often (sorry, a cheap shot 😁) ,unlike their English counterparts who only fly the flag when England are playing.