As reports abound that the latest in a long line of teenage “next Wayne Rooneys” is set to get a long contract at Newcastle United, the heat remains on the seat of Papisse Demba Cisse.
And the seat has been occupied rather often.
With England U-17 striker Adam Armstrong set to make his Magpies senior bow as soon as Wednesday, many are wondering why Cisse wasn’t sold to a late window suitor like Trabzonspor.
And the truth is that Alan Pardew is still holding out hope that Cisse will re-emerge as the striker who made Demba Ba expendable when Chelsea’s big money came calling.
“He needs to have a big second half of the season for the summer. We are going to have to make a decision with Papiss: whether he is going to stay at this club and be a big player for us like he was two years ago and last year to a degree, or whether it’s going to be pastures new.”
Cisse was a “Senegalese sensation” when he sit the scene at St. James Park in 2012, recording a blistering 13 goals in 14 matches after arriving in the January transfer window. And while he was productive in the Europa League with 4 goals in 10 matches in NUFC’s 2012-13 campaign, his strike rate dropped markedly, to eight in 36 PL appearances.
This year, he’s notched just one goal in 15 Premier League matches and two more in Cup matches. Cisse’s been third-choice at-best to Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi at true striker and the Magpies just scooped up Dutch youngster Luuk de Jong on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach.
So much of the game is confidence, and a proposed resurgence for Cisse is far from absurd (though those who’ve witnessed his 12-foot touches and bombs wide of the frame this year may roll their eyes). Can he become a hotshot again? More reasonably, can he find form as a decent PL striker at St. James Park? Or will it take “pastures new” for the 28-year-old from Dakar?