Ba deal hits problems after failing WHU medical as well
WEST Ham’s high profile signing of £7 million-rated striker Demba Ba from Hoffenheim has hit a snag after he failed two medicals – but Gary O’Neil has now completed his move from Middlesbrough.
A row over Ba’s insurance is holding up the deal, ESPNsoccernet can reveal, and it might prove to be a stumbling block for the transfer to go through.
It is thought that no player has ever come to English football having failed two medicals, but the Hammers, bottom of the league, need to take a calculated risk to help boost their survival hopes.
The problem could leave the Hammers looking at alternative strikers with only days left before the window closes. A renewed bid for Tottenham’s Robbie Keane and also a move for Stoke City striker Tuncay Sanli may be fast-tracked.
Ba also failed a medical at Stoke and as a consequence his transfer fell through, and although Stoke wanted a loan deal the player travelled to Upton Park to agree terms.
Ba’s fitness concerns also showed up when he had his tests with the Hammers, but the club considered it worth the “gamble” to take him on loan.
Now the transfer is subject to a satisfactory agreement between the two clubs on his insurance policy and who covers the costs. Hoffenheim also want a £500,000 loan fee for the forward.
An insider told ESPNsoccernet: “Ba has failed the medical, which means any club signing him is gambling.
“The problem is that his club [Hoffenheim] want West Ham to insure him against permanent retirement, and no company will insure his bad knee for that.”
Meanwhile, O’Neil’s £1.5 million move from Middlesborough has gone through and he made his debut in the Carling Cup semi-final at Birmingham on Wednesday night after the club gained clarification from the Football league that he was eligible.
O’Neil spent two years with West Ham as a youngster and admits it feels he has “come home’’.
He told West Ham’s official website: “I’m really pleased to sign. It all happened very quickly. I played for Middlesbrough at the weekend and didn’t know anything was going to happen. It has all gathered pace since then.
“There was also a big rush to do it quickly when they realised I wasn’t cup-tied. I enjoyed my time at Middlesbrough, the fans and staff were really good but it has been a difficult time on the pitch.
“It is nice to be back in the Premier League and play at the top level, which everyone wants to do. I am London born so it is good to come home. It is great that the club have such a massive game to look forward to.
“I haven’t trained yet with the team so it is up to the manager of course if he wants to use me. I will take it one step at a time but it is a big game and it could be a case of straight in at the deep end if involved.’’
O’Neil’s arrival follows that of Wayne Bridge, who joined on loan from Manchester City earlier this month.