Will the return of Papiss Cisse help Newcastle United to safety?

The 30-year-old Senegalese international is "fit, sharp and very focussed" after a very frustrating two months, with the forward looking to return to action for the Magpies sooner rather than later.

Will the return of Papiss Cisse help Newcastle United to safety?
Is Pappis Cisse the man? (Photo: nufc.co.uk)

Alan Pardew was the catalyst in bringing Pappis Cisse from German club SC Freiburg to Newcastle United in summer 2011, with the Senegalese international becoming a fan favourite in his debut season.

Many Newcastle fans may not have heard of then Bundesliga club, Freiburg, let alone Cisse, but with 22 league goals in 32 appearances during the 2010/11 German season, the forward soon caught the eye of Pardew and his scouting staff. His impressive time in Germany saw Cisse arrive on Tyneside in a deal said to have been around £10 million.

Papiss Cisse unveiled as a Newcastle United player | Photo: nufc.co.uk
Papiss Cisse unveiled as a Newcastle United player | Photo: nufc.co.uk

Cisse’s debut season for the Magpies was a memorable one. With 13 goals in 1113 minutes – a goal every 85 minutes – the then 26-year-old become an instant hit alongside compatriot Demba Ba.

During Cisse’s unveiling, Pardew had stated that Cisse had been on Newcastle’s radar “for the best part of two years” and labelled the forward as “a finisher with an already established CV.”

The following season however was perhaps ones to forget for Cisse. In 3006 minutes of Premier League football during the 2012/13 season, Cisse found the net on just eight occasions, which saw Newcastle escape relegation by just five points.

It didn’t get any better for the Senegal international either. Injuries hampered Cisse’s growth which saw the number nine score just two league goals during 2013/14, despite Newcastle finishing mid-table.

Twenty-fifteen was again another year to forget for fans of this iconic club. Pardew left for Crystal Palace, which saw assistant manager and local icon John Carver take charge. Newcastle survived relegation by the skin of their teeth yet again – something which fans are all too familiar with – as they finished four points above Hull City.

If it wasn’t for Cisse’s goals during the 2014/15 season, then perhaps Newcastle United would be spending the current season in the Championship. With just 40 goals in 38 matches last season, the signing from Freiburg got 11 of those, despite starting most games on the bench – something that Cisse has become all too familiar with in the past couple of seasons.

Cisse celebrates goal - Chelsea during 14/15 campaign | Photo: Getty
Cisse celebrates goal - Chelsea during 14/15 campaign | Photo: Getty

Arrival of Steve McClaren & Co.

Steve McClaren’s signing of Aleksandar Mitrovic during summer 2015 has put Cisse further down the pecking order, which has seen the forward start just eight games in the current season. With two goals to his name, Cisse has again been struck with a number of injury problems.

The Senegalese striker says the last couple of months “have been frustrating” but now that he is back in training, he feels “fit, sharp and very focussed.”

Cisse also stated that he “can’t wait to get back playing again,” but with the loan signing of Seydou Doumbia, will McClaren be likely to start the 30-year-old ahead of someone who has played Champions League football this season?

So, will Pappis Cisse get into the starting XI?

Sadly, Cisse isn’t the player he was when he first joined the club. With over a century of appearances for Newcastle United, Cisse has found the net 40 times in the Premier League.

Fans are losing patience with Cisse, whilst club legend Alan Shearer criticising the striker earlier in the season, saying Newcastle “would’ve been better with 10 men” during their 2-0 defeat against West Ham United, which saw the Magpies slump to the bottom of the Premier League table.

Newcastle United are missing a quality finisher. Fans know that Cisse is capable of finding the goal in the penalty area, but are the coaching staff likely to start an injury prone, out-of-form striker ahead of the fiery Mitrovic, talented Ayoze Perez and Doumbia, who is unproven in the Premier League? Probably not.

With the Magpies out of the FA Cup, and an international break coming up, Newcastle United aren’t back in action until March 2 when they face an impressive Stoke City side who are fearless at the Britannia Stadium.