NEWCASTLE UNITED manager Alan Pardew refused to be drawn on whether he would try to tempt Demba Ba back to Tyneside this summer, but does think the striker will be unhappy with his role at Stamford Bridge.
Ba has struggled to make the impact he would have hoped for since leaving St James' Park in a £7.5m deal 13 months ago.
Chelsea's embarrassment of riches and willingness to spend more on recruitment has seen the 28-year-old fall further down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.
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But an injury to Fernando Torres has put Ba high in Mourinho's thinking again and he was a late substitute in Chelsea's 1-0 win at Manchester City last Monday.
The Senegal international has still only started 13 Premier League matches for the Blues since turning his back on the Magpies, increasing the likelihood that he will be moving on in the summer.
Pardew, who got the best out of the front-man in England, said: “I should think Demba's frustrated too, knowing him. He's a player who wants to play.
“I always liked that about Demba. Demba used to take knocks and not have his next game but the next game he was ready to play. I think he'll be frustrated that he's not getting a lot of football there. But he was a great player for us.”
Ba scored 29 goals in 51 Premier League starts for Newcastle before he moved to West London and Newcastle have never really looked as potent in front of goal since his departure.
The arrival of Loic Remy from QPR last summer has helped, but Papiss Cisse's struggles have left Newcastle short of options in the final third and that has caused problems.
That prompted Newcastle to move for Dutch striker Luuk De Jong in the latter stages of the January transfer window and he made his debut as a second half substitute against Sunderland a week ago.
De Jong, on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach, looked short of sharpness and fitness after a lack of first team football in the Bundesliga following last summer's switch from FC Twente.
But his compatriot at Newcastle, Vurnon Anita, who played with Luuk's brother Siem at Ajax, believes the new recruits will not take long to settle in the North-East.
“I played with Luuk a little in Holland and he has a very good nose for a goal,” said Anita. “In the box, he is a very dangerous player.
“But the Sunderland game was in his first couple of days here so he is just getting used to things. We have to help him so he can do his best.
“He has not played for a while so he has to get match-fit. He is experienced enough to cope with what has just happened here.”