Papiss Cisse has departed Newcastle United to join Chinese Super League side, Shandong Luneng.
As Cisse approached the final year of his contract, The Magpies jumped at the opportunity to recuperate some of the £10million that they paid German club, Freiburg for his services.
Cisse joins ex team-mate, Demba Ba and former Premier League players, Ramires, Tim Cahill, Paulinho, Gervinho and Asamoah Gyan in being swayed to make the big money move to the Chinese league.
The 31-year-old spent four years at St James’ Park, used his personal Twitter account to thank Newcastle fans for their support throughout his time on Tyneside. Cisse said: “I want to put on record my thanks and the appreciation for the Newcastle fans.”
He added: “I will never forget them (Newcastle fans)” for “as long as he lives” and “will be back as a supporter alongside them one day.”
Cisse stands on the list of players to wear the historic number nine at Newcastle which he insists, he wore with great pride: “every goal I scored in that famous number nine shirt was for them”.
The Senegalese was unable to keep the club in Premier League last season, and he hopes “that the team are quickly back in the Premier League.” He believes the great times will return under Rafa Benitez, just like the fans and Cisse “had some great times together.”
A prolific first six months
The number nine shirt was vacated by Andy Carroll before Kenny Dalglish splashed out £35million to bring Carroll to Liverpool in January 2011. And it took Newcastle one year to find their new number nine when Cisse joined in 2012.
No one could have expected what Cisse was about to do as the ex-Freibrug man set the world a light. Cisse scored a stunning volley on his debut in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, and since that game, he never looked back for the rest of the season. United’s new striker hit an astonishing 13 goals in 14 games including a goal of the season winner when he defied physics to beat Petr Cech from distant in their 2-0 win at Stamford Brigde.
Cisse’s form guided The Magpies into the Europa League after just falling short of Champions League football.
Late, late goals
Newcastle and Cisse went into their 2012-2013 full of belief that they could challenge for the Europe places once again, however, they quickly realised that those expectations weren’t going to be fulfilled.
In Cisse’s first six months, he was preferred to central striking role over fellow Senegalese team mate, Ba. An un-settled Ba spoke of his desire to take back his central role otherwise he would leave the club.
As Ba was given his wish from manager Alan Pardew leaving Cisse to vacate an unfamiliar wing role, and his first half season form suffered because of it – only scoring four goals in all competition ahead of the New Year. Despite Pardew gifting Ba his wish, Ba choose to leave Newcastle six-months later when Chelsea met his £7million release clause.
Cisse was handed back his central role which got the striker scoring once again. As The Magpies looked to progress in the Europa League, his late header against Anzhi Makhachkala made St James’ Park erupt as he sent the Geordies into the last eight of the competition.
The Toon Army failed to adapt to playing Thursday and Sunday, which resulted in their league form to suffer as they headed towards the relegation places. Cisse made sure his side would not complete the disaster of relegation as late goals in the games against Stoke City and Fulham earned them the wins that kept them in the top flight.
Unfortuantely for Cisse, he failed to continue his stand-out performances. In the 2013/2014 season, United signed Loic Remy on a season-long loan from QPR meaning once again, Cisse struggled with not being the main striker.
The Senegalese-man played 27 appearances times that season but could only manage a low tally of four goals before his torrid season was topped off with an injury to his knee cap.
Braces and spitting incident
The Magpies failed to win any of their opening seven games at the start of the 2014/2015 season. In the games against Swansea and Hull City, Cisse’s braces meant that United would pick up a point despite no wins. However, them points would prove crucial at the end of the season.
United’s fortunes changed when they turned a seven games without a win into a five-win streak. Unbeaten Chelsea came to St James’ Park on December 6 2014, where another Cisse brace inflicted a first defeat for The Blues in a 2-1 defeat.
Pardew left Tyneside for South London when he was appointed by Crystal Palace in January 2015 leaving John Carver to take the United reign untill the end of the season. Newcastle and Cisse were responsible for their own fates. The striker missed six crucial games for United after he was banned by the FA after allegedly spat at ex-Manchester United defender Jonny Evans in a 1-0 defeat.
The Man Utd defeat kick-started a run of 10 games without a win for the Geordies, including nine defeats as Newcastle plummeted towards relegation. Luckily for Newcastle, their win against West Ham on the final day of the season was enough to keep them up at the expense of Hull.
Cisse ended his final season on Tyneside with relegation under his belt. His last Newcastle goal came in 2-2 fight back at Anfield as his ended his season tally with an uninspired three goals in 21 appearances.