Casting A Little Light On New Sunderland Mystery Man El-Hadji Ba

Struggling to keep up with just who on earth Sunderland are signing? Can't seem to locate any info about El-Hadji Ba? Fear not, for we are here for you. Well, someone we know is...

It may be terribly non-conformist of us, but we here at Roker Report are never too proud to admit that we don't know absolutely everything about every footballer on the face of the planet.

In a summer of sweeping change and obscure names, none have been shrouded in more mystery than incoming French youngster El-Hadji Ba, who is set to join the development squad next month.

In fact, given his career currently amounts to a rather sparse involvement in Ligue 2 for Le Havre, not much is known about Ba generally. But if there is anyone who can cast what little light there is over Ba, then it is the brilliant chaps at French Football Weekly. We asked their editor Andrew Gibney to help us out a little.

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Ba seems like a near total mystery to us, with even the journalists who broke the story of him interesting Sunderland unable to really offer any insight into him. Is he any better known in France?

Andrew: For most the jury is still on El-Hadj Ba. He only played 12 games, starting nine of them, which is not enough to judge someone in the second division. He also made nine appearances for the second team that play on the fourth division. Le Havre's management knows he needed games, hence why he played for both sides, but his red card for Le Havre II on the final day shows that he still has a lot to learn.

Personally I think it's too early for a move, for a cautionary tale look at Abeid and Amalfitano across in Tyneside.

So from what little you have seen of him, is there much in there to work with?

Andrew: Amazingly he is only 6 foot tall, but he looks much taller. He has that lanky, awkward look about him but there is definitely some raw ability in there.

Thinking about it, we don't even know what positions or roles he has in his locker...

Andrew: In Le Havre's 4-2-3-1 he can play anywhere along the front three, but I still can't work out what his best position would be. He could even play as the main striker given some guidance.

He is a pacy forward, comfortable as a winger, has good technique and has a trick or two up his sleeve.

Young players tend to attract comparisons with more established names. Have any been mentioned for Ba?

People have been known to label him in the same class as fellow Le Havre graduate Paul Pogba, but he's not in that league - yet. He is only 20-years-old and needs games and time to develop.

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Many thanks to Andrew for his help on this one. Trying to uncover information about El-Hadji Ba has not been easy, let us assure you! You can follow him on Twitter at @Gibney_A and @FrenchFtWeekly.

If you want to read an in-depth analysis of Sunderland target Benjamin Mendy and the other top prospects in France, CLICK HERE to download FFW's 'Le 50' eBook. Well worth 99 pennies of any football fan's money. In fact, in this day and age you'd be crazy not to, especially with Sunderland starting to get a bit of a foothold in France in terms of scouting. Go on, treat yourself. Your eyes will love you forever.

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