Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has been sounded out about playing in the ambitious new Indian Super League, which is due to launch in September, The Journal understands.
As United allowed Jonas Gutierrez to depart for Norwich City on loan, The Journal also understands that Newcastle’s negotiations with Luuk de Jong’s club Borussia Monchengladbach have reached an impasse.
United want to strike a loan deal worth around £1m for the 23-year-old – with a view to a £6m permanent deal in the summer.
The need for new strikers may become more acute if Cisse leaves over the next six months, with interest in Newcastle’s No 9 coming from across the globe.
He was the subject of a £9m bid from a Middle East club last week, but there are other money-spinning offers in the pipeline for the United forward, including a mooted move to India to become one of the marquee names of a proposed new league in the sub-continent.
The Indian Super League is still in the early stages of its development and a proposed January launch date has been pushed back to September – but it is backed by billion-dollar company Reliance as well as Star India, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network.
India is viewed as one of the last frontiers for professional football, and the likes of Louis Saha, Robbie Fowler, Freddie Ljungberg,Kenny Dalglish and Robert Pires have all been asked to either manage or play in the eight-team franchise
format. Although exact details about the tournament remain unconfirmed, soundings have been made towards Cisse about potential interest in playing for one of the newly-formed clubs – if he moves on from Newcastle in the summer.
Whether Newcastle would allow him to go this month is unclear, but the summer will represent a crossroads for the club, with several of their established stars coming to a point in their contract where United may look to sell them and refresh their squad with younger players.
That restructuring project would make the likes of Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini vulnerable – and the indications are that the striker would not be short of interest if he is told to find a new club.
It is understood that Cisse’s preference this month is to stay at Newcastle and fight for his place in the United team, but he is desperate to play first-team football again.
Newcastle value the Senegal international at £10m and would not countenance allowing him to leave for anything less than the £9m they paid for him two years ago.
Meanwhile, United continue to make laborious progress on the recruitment front as they continue to talk to Holland forward De Jong about a potential loan move.
They have also been linked with a move for Ajax’s Siem de Jong – a player that they have tracked for more than two years.
However, nothing is imminent with either brother, even though Newcastle have been given encouragement by the player.
When asked about the Magpies’ potential interest over the weekend he is quoted as saying: “I can imagine going.”
At the moment Newcastle only have the injured Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy, Yoan Gouffran and Cisse as recognised senior strikers, so the addition of de Jong would be a timely boost for Pardew.
Meanwhile, the fall-out from Sunday’s defeat against Manchester City has seen referee Mike Jones dropped for the weekend’s Premier League – while Alan Pardew has been reminded of his responsibilities by the Football Association.
Pardew’s verbal altercation with Manuel Pellegrini attracted plenty of attention after the contentious clash, which saw Cheick Tiote’s stunninggoal ruled out for a questionable offside.
But Pardew has escaped an FA charge and has been given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist by the authorities.