Many Toon fans are still in shock at the signing of Papiss Demba Cisse, not only with the stature of the signing, but also the amount of investment made.
However, apart from media hype, just how much do we know about him, and just what does he potentially have to offer?
At 26 years of age, he is certainly experienced, but at the same time, he just fits into the club’s youth criteria of buying value. Interestingly, our last iconic striking legend, Alan Shearer also signed for the club at age 26 in the prime of his career, and he went on to score over 200 goals for Newcastle.
Whilst nobody expects Cisse to go on and reach the same heights that Shearer did in the Premier League, there is certainly plenty of time for our new number nine to go on, and repay the value of outlay spent on his services.
Standing 6′ 0″ tall and weighing around 75kg, he is a powerful striker, who has excellent movement around the field, and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. A strong right foot and an excellent finisher, Cisse has scored goals where ever he has played in his career to date.
Starting his professional career in Europe with Metz in the French Lique 1, Cisse only really got his chance to shine as a 22-year-old after his club’s relegation to Ligue 2.
Here, the Senegalese striker went on to score 22 goals in 53 (46 starts) appearances before making his move to the Bundesliga with SC Freiburg.
Cisse made a fine start to his SC Freiburg career, netting 7 goals in 16 appearances (13 starts). 2010, however, would be the season Cisse started to make a real name for himself in Europe.
He scored 24 goals in 34 starts to finish the Bundesliga’s second top scorer, behind Mario Gomez who scored 42 goals that season in 55 appearances (39 starts).
Cisse outshone the likes of Edin Dzeko (14), Lucas Barrios (19), Pavel Pogrebnyak (10), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (24), Lucas Podolski (19), Raul (19), Arjen Robben (17) and Thomas Muller (23), despite playing in a SC Freiburg team which only just managed a top ten finish – Cisse scored 54% of his teams goals that season.
This season, SC Freiburg are sitting rock bottom of the Bundesliga standings, however, this has not stopped Cisse from continuing his goal scoring trend. He remains amongst the league top goal scorers, with nine goals and two assists from 17 appearances.
His total career record at club level is an impressive 61 goals from 115 starts (129 appearances).
Considering he has only shown his best form in the last two seasons at a top European level, it is not surprising that Cisse was only called up to the Senegalese squad in 2009 at the age of 24. Here too though, he has made a great start with seven goals from 13 international appearances. Demba Ba has scored three goals for Senegal in 10 appearances.
In a recent survey, done by Africa’s biggest mobile phone service provider MTN, Papiss Demba Cisse was ranked as the seventh best African player. Here he beat out the likes of Yaya Toure and Gervinho finishing just behind Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Moussa Sow in the striking department.
No doubt carrying the number nine shirt he will have a lot of pressure on him to succeed, but I can only hope the fans allow him time to settle in. It could well be only next season that we see him making a major impact.
All in all, the stats speak for themselves, and now it is up to Cisse to get down to business when he joins up with the Newcastle squad in February.
Having been bitterly disappointed with the sale of Andy Carroll, I now perceive the his transfer as possibly the best best of business ever done by the club. We lost one quality striker, but gained Demba Ba. Yet because of his fee, people never saw Ba as a replacement, but more of an addition to the squad.
Now we have Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse! And I personally wouldn’t swap either for Carroll, let alone both… Would you?