Demba Ba is poised to make his Chelsea debut in today’s FA Cup third-round tie at St Mary’s after completing his move from Newcastle.
Ba could replace Fernando Torres up front for the third round tie, with interim manager Rafael Benitez keen to rest his fellow Spaniard at times during the second half of the season.
Nigeria stars John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses will be available before jetting off to Portugal for a pre-African Nations Cup training camp, but John Terry (knee) and Petr Cech (groin) remain out.
Ba has signed a three-and-half-year contract after Chelsea activated the £7m release clause in his Magpies contract, the value of which had controversially become public ahead of the transfer window.
It is the second time Ba has exploited such a clause since moving to English football, having been allowed to leave West Ham following their Premier League relegation in 2011.
But he had no regrets about his career path and said: “This club is at another level – it isn’t West Ham or Newcastle.
“They are both big clubs with a strong history, but Chelsea is Chelsea and you cannot compare.
“It will be easier with world-class players around, who make the football look so easy."
Full story in today's Daily Echo