Demba Ba's departure is a blessing in disguise for Newcastle United
Papiss Cisse can fire Newcastle United clear of relegation danger
After a disappointing season, Newcastle United now languish in 15th spot, and very much in a relegation dogfight.
Nobody thought Alan Pardew's side would be fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table this season, and with memories of their previous Premier League relegation still lingering, the Magpies are keen to avoid a repeat of 2009.
Scars of that deep wound have barely healed, yet they are again threatening to open up. The last 13 matches for Newcastle has seen them lose to the likes of Everton, Fulham, Stoke, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham, along with the heavyweights such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.
At the beginning of the season, the Newcastle United fans were dreaming of qualifying for the Champions League following their 5th-placed finish in the 2011/12 campaign. Pardew was rewarded with an eight-year contract, yet the squad was barely strengthened over the summer and the north East giants have taken a step backwards with their on-field progress.
After losing Demba Ba to reigning European champions Chelsea, one would assume their troubles are likely to worsen. However, Ba's departure might just be a blessing in disguise.
Ba has been sensational for Newcastle since signing from West Ham on a free transfer. He has scored 29 league goals in just 54 appearances and to put that into context, only Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have scored more over the same period.
So what makes me think that Newcastle will be better off without Ba?
Papiss Demba Cisse is one person who will benefit. When he came to Newcastle from Freiburg, Cisse stole Ba’s thunder, scoring 13 league goals in just 14 games. Cisse's scintillating form forced Ba to play as a right-winger, with Pardew opting for one up top. But Ba rose to the challenge set by his compatriot and returned to form, leaving the 51-year-old Newcastle boss with little choice but to opt for Ba as his sole striker.
Newcastle may have lost their top scorer but in Cisse, they have a ready-made replacement. The time has come for the 27-year-old Senegalese striker to step up to the mark and show the kind of form that fans know he's capable of.
Ba leaving will give Cisse a chance to play through the middle - his favoured position - and you'd be foolish to bet against him returning to the kind of form that we saw after his immediate arrival.
Reports have linked Newcastle with Marseille forward Loic Remy, and if they are able to bring the £11million rated striker to St. James' Park, he will undoubtedly strengthen the Geordies going forward, as well as offering an alternative to Cisse.
Ba is a good player but he was a bad apple. No player is bigger than the club, and the fact he wanted to leave means the club were right to sell him, irrespective of the minimum fee release clause inserted in his contract.
Additionally, Newcastle don't have to worry about the speculation that has followed Ba ever since his arrival. With him gone, the club can concentrate on their fight against relegation and can move forward, united as one.