Around 9:30pm on the 17th of January 2012, Newcastle United officially confirmed the signing of Papiss Demba Cisse from Bundesliga side Freiberg – the striker moving for a fee reputed to be between £7.5m and £10m and signing the now infamous five and a half year contract. Notably, he will wear the iconic no. 9 shirt.
Despite having made a move for the player in the dying throws of the August window, the move on this occasion caught almost all by surprise – much in the way the Sylvain Marveaux transfer did, with barely six hours separating first notification through the media to the signing being officially confirmed. To paraphase Winston Churchill, once again NUFC’s ‘precious’ transfer ‘truth’ has been ‘attended by a bodyguard of lies’…
Upon signing, Alan Pardew told the official website “Ever since Andy Carroll left, Papiss was my first choice in the specific role he has at the end of the play… He is a finisher with an already-established CV in the Bundesliga, where we have monitored him for the best part of two years.”
Club career in stats
|Season||Club||Games Played (all comps)||Goals|
|2011/12 (so far)||SC Freiburg||17||9|
*from his transfer to Metz onwards
So what do we get?
“If ever there was a natural candidate for a #9 position in the PL, it’s Cisse.” Raphael Honigstein
With Andy Carroll’s hastily vacated boots having long since been filled by the sometimes unplayable Demba Ba, NUFC have not struggled for goals, but the burden on Ba has been obvious – being accountable for 56% of Newcastle’s goals so far this season. The addition of Cisse promises to give NUFC both an alternative goal scoring option and the prospect of upping their goal tally. Indeed, the latter is an addition that could prove invaluable – NUFC’s 30 goals so far this season is a healthy return but it has been submissive to the defensive contributions in keeping NUFC in the unexpected lofty position they find themselves at the time of writing
“The fast, muscular forward has not only perfectly complemented Freiburg’s style with his exceptional work ethic, but he’s also proved to be an expert finisher” Raphael Honigstein - ‘ Cissé fuels SC Freiburg’s success’
Taking a slight deviation from the current, physically focussed stock of strikers, Papiss should provide more dynamism to the NUFC forward line – his quick turn of pace and intelligent movement in the channels in attack something we lack up front, whilst still maintaining more than enough presence through his 6ft frame. His relationship and previous international game time along-side Demba Ba should make his transition into life and playing in Newcastle a little easier, along with the sheer number of French speaking players at the club now. However, despite the similarities between the Premier League and Bundesliga, a period of adaption is still expected.
A word of warning though…
“A weakness? Can be petulant. Picks up needless bookings” – Martyn Fisher @bundesliga_wrap
Nine yellows in 34 games last season would tend to support this claim – one to keep an eye on perhaps…
Stats Comparison (this season)
|Name||App.||Goals||Assists||Shots PG||Aerials Won||S/Drib PG||Offside PG|
|Demba Ba||17 (2)||15||1||3.2||28/76||0.6||0.9|
|Leon Best||13 (2)||4||2||1.5||44/87||0.7||1.3|
|Modibo Maiga||10 (2)||4||1||2.1||45/96||0.9||0.4|
The transfer of Cisse is as clear cut as any NUFC transfer over the last few years. Whilst the incoming Ba, Santon, Marveaux et al had the undoubted potential to excite the masses on arrival, each individual excitement was tempered by its own respective, and crucial ‘as long as…’ Cisse has signed in good health, good spirits, good form and with no historical injury issues of major note – the question seems to be simply on how he takes, or how long it takes for him to adapt to our style of play and life in England.
Indeed, in a wider context Cisse’s signing lends itself perfectly to a progressive transfer strategy (at least in terms of incomings) we are still coming to understand. Much like Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote before him, Papiss has undoubted ability and is just about to hit the prime years of his football career as he takes to the St James’ Park stage – and all this for a very reasonable fee…
NUFC is slowly turning into a superb environment and stage for those wanting to prove themselves in the Premier League – long may it continue.
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