Former Newcastle number nine Papiss Cisse has revealed that he actually wanted to stay at the club when he left the Magpies in 2016.
Cisse, who now plays for Alanyaspor in Turkey, claims he was keen to stay and help the club achieve immediate promotion back to the Premier League following relegation – but states the offer from China was too good for Mike Ashley to reject.
Speaking to The Athletic, the Senegalese striker said:
“I wanted to stay, honestly, to help bring the club back, but I had a year left on my contract and the offer from China was good for the club.
“When they accepted the bid, that felt like the moment to go. But Newcastle will always be in my heart. Always.”
It is true that Cisse was settled on Tyneside, with the Magpies striker having previously spoken of his affection for the club and local area in 2013, at the time stating “there is no other place I’d rather be playing.”
However, casting our minds back to 2016, Cisse had fallen out of favour with manager Rafa Benitez. During the final stretch of that relegation season, Aleksandr Mitrovic was Rafa’s preferred option. Cisse’s wage package was also a likely factor in the club’s decision to offload the striker.
The Senegalese forward got off to an electric start to life at Newcastle, scoring 12 goals in his first 13 games following a £9million January move from German side SC Freiburg.
That said, Papiss struggled to be as prolific as he was in those first few months at the club, and didn’t offer enough to the team as a whole when he wasn’t finding the back of the net.
Offloading the striker and bringing in a proven Championship striker in Dwight Gayle turned out to be a masterstroke from Benitez, as Gayle went on to net 23 times as The Toon gained promotion at the first attempt.
Cisse managed to score on a regular basis for Chinese side Shandong Lueng before joining current team Alanyaspor. At the age of 34, the ex-Mags days off playing at the highest level are most certainly behind him, but it is nice to see he is still playing football and scoring goals – with him bagging 6 goals in 7 in Turkey this season.
What do you think? Were Newcastle right to let Papiss go? He was a good servant for the club, and in my opinion we let him leave at exactly the right time. Players like Wijnaldum, Sissoko and Cisse had to be offloaded before that Championship campaign, with players in the mould of Ritchie and Gayle being much better equipped for the Championship.