DEMBA BA is desperate to sign the biggest deal of his life this month.
The Newcastle hitman is eyeing a bumper move to Chelsea and a huge increase on his current £40,000-a-week wages.
But whatever happens and no matter how many more millions will be heading his and his raft of advisors’ way, Ba will never forget his early days in England when all he could afford were crisps and water.
The 27-year-old came to Blighty to realise his Premier League dream but trials at Barnsley and a spell at Watford amounted to nothing.
Ba was forced to go back to France and eventually reach England’s top flight at West Ham via German side Hoffenheim before sealing his move to Newcastle 18 months ago. He has already bagged 13 goals this term and is one of Europe’s hottest properties. But the French-born Senegal international will never forget where it all started.
He said: “I’d always loved English football.
“One of my friends from Paris, Gauthier Diafutua, was playing for Watford at the time, so I got a trial.
“We still had to find a place to sleep. One of my friends said he knew someone who we could stay with.
“But the guy was sharing the house and had only one room. So we ended up with the five of us sleeping in his bedroom.
“The other days, we were sleeping in a hotel but we didn’t have any money. So we booked a room for two and four of us slept there.
“After three days we went to Barnsley and stayed in a fantastic hotel this time. The club paid. The trial didn’t work out. We were there a week but it was a bit chaotic. “We wanted to check out but then... trouble again. The reception said the club had paid for the hotel but that we had to pay for the food.
“We had no money, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted an agent who was able to send us some money to pay the £500 bill. In those days, we were eating only crisps and drinking water.
“We had no money but we had a lot of fun.
“We were just having a good laugh in the African style. It doesn’t matter what you have, as long as you’re happy with the people you are with.”
Ba is set to be involved against Everton tonight.
Boss Alan Pardew has never doubted his dedication and the deeply-religious star added: “People sometimes have a bad image of Islam but that is an image of what people are doing with Islam.
“It gives me so much. Something which is easy for me to give is money. I feel detached from it. I look after myself and my family but I won’t forget people who struggle. My father lives in Senegal. They are from the smaller villages and know how to distribute money to people who need it.”
One person who is priceless to Ba is sports therapist Pedro Philippou, who has managed a knee problem which Stoke boss Tony Pulis once described as a “ticking timebomb”.
Ba revealed: “West Ham inserted a clause that they could terminate my contract if I did not play a certain number of matches that season.
“I said to myself, ‘Take the gamble man, you’ve come from nowhere. If you go back to nowhere, it’s no problem.’”
Source: The Sun