Newcastle Club Focus – New number nine Cisse catches imagination on Tyneside

Newcastle created one of the biggest stories of the current transfer window with the capture of Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse. The move came out of the blue with many expecting some defensive reinforcements to be the only movement in in January. However the club have made a statement of intent with the signing of the prolific Cisse for a fee believed to be around the £9 million mark. The striker will wear the iconic number nine shirt that has been worn by a number of great players down the years.

It came as a surprise to many in the media when news broke on Tuesday that Newcastle had agreed a fee with Freiburg for the player. He had previously been linked with a number of Premier League clubs including local rivals Sunderland. Cisse has gained a reputation as a prolific goalscorer in recent years with the African scoring 22 goals last season. In this campaign, he has continued his form with nine goals for a team struggling at the wrong end of German league table. Cisse has signed a five and a half year contract with Newcastle.

The only downside to Cisse’s transfer is that he will be unable to be make his highly anticipated debut for several weeks. How soon it comes about will largely depend on how he gels in partnership with current Magpies forward and international teammate Demba Ba. The African Cup of Nations should allow the two strikers to work on their budding partnership with the Senegal national team. Both players boast excellent strike rates at club and international level so the Magpies should not be short of goals for the foreseeable future.

Alan Pardew has claimed that Cisse was always his long term target to replace Andy Carroll. Before the window opened he claimed that a move for a forward was always going to be highly unlikely with a limited budget apparently available. He said of Cisse: “He is a finisher with an already-established CV in the Bundesliga, where we have monitored him for the best part of two years.” Fans will be hoping that this transfer does not signal the departure of Demba Ba who no doubt played an important role in helping bring his countryman to the north east. The striker continues to attract interest but has played down any chances of him leaving before the end of the season.

For now Newcastle will have to rely on the prowess of Leon Best who impressed last time out against QPR. On Saturday the Magpies travel to London to face a Fulham team who currently lie 14th of the table. The Cottagers have had an inconsistent season but are capable of beating anyone on their day. Pardew’s biggest concern is over key player Yohan Cabaye who was stretchered off last weekend with an ankle injury. If he is again absent the manager may choose to pack his midfield with likes of Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic on standby to come in to the side.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Fulham v Newcastle

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