GFFN had the pleasure of talking to the hugely talented El Hadji Ba, who has decided to give Get French Football News his first interview as a Sunderland player:
Born: 5th March 1993
Current Club: Sunderland
Previous Clubs: Le Havre.
First of all, congratulations regarding your move to Sunderland, how do you feel?
I feel great. I cannot wait to go to Sunderland to show them what I am capable of.
Did you have a lot of interest from other clubs?
Yes I had other clubs who were interested in me, but Sunderland have wanted me for ages, even before I turned pro. That is what tipped the decision in their favour.
Which clubs were they?
I do not want to name any clubs out of respect.
What has been the best moment of your career so far?
It has to be my first game as a pro at home, my first goal.
Why are you not participating for France in the U20’s World Cup this summer?
I am not playing in the World Cup because my President made it in this way that I did not get to play.
Who? The President of Le Havre?
Yes he is president. He has some power and when he is not happy with something, he uses that power.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am a very ambitious guy. You will see when the time comes.
How is your English? Can you tell us something you know how to say?
I have started to learn a bit. I know how to say ‘My name is La Manip’. (La Manip is his nickname, he chuckles)
What will you miss the most about Le Havre?
I will miss the guys at the club who have helped me and of course all my teammates.
What do you know about Paolo Di Canio?
I know he is a manager who likes to win, like me.
Was it Paolo di Canio who convinced you to sign for Sunderland?
No it was not he. I had been convinced to join Sunderland before he was appointed this year.
What excites you the most about the Premier League?
I want to confront the best of the best to show that I am capable. I want to prove myself.
Internationally speaking, do you think you will make the French national team, or will choose Senegal as the country you will represent?
I was born in France and I grew up in France so to want to play for France is normal. First, I must try to be good enough to make any international team. After that, we will see.
Who inspires you in your life?
The only player who inspires me is Abou Diaby because I like his style of play a lot.
Finally, a slightly cheeky question, the reported interest from Tottenham in you earlier this year, did it exist?
Yes there was a moment where they wanted me, but now it is in the past. I am happy to go to Sunderland. I like the atmosphere of the club and the supporters.
Thank you very much,’ La Manip’. We wish you all the best!