Neil Cameron: Papiss Cisse has run out of chances and time on Tyneside

Neil Cameron reluctantly comes to the conclusion that Cisse is yesterday's man

Papiss Cisse
Papiss Cisse

You could while away a couple of hours compiling a list of clubs linked this season with an interest in Papiss Cisse.

Media reports in Russia last night claimed Locomotiv Moscow were keen to acquire his services.

Turkish sides Besitkas and Trabzonspor were interested last month, as were Anzhi Makhachkala a while ago before that club collapsed in on itself.

There was that bid by a Qatar club, believed to be £9m – the fee Newcastle paid for Cisse two years ago when they bought him from SC Freiburg.

There was at least one enquiry from the newly-formed Indian Super League.

It’s easy to forget when trying to remember all these names that Arsenal failed with a last-minute loan bid at the end of the summer transfer window.

There has been other interest, some more serious than others, but it’s a tricky business trying to recall every name.

You could spend an entire day Googling the phrase “clubs linked to Papiss Cisse”.

You would keep coming across stories long forgotten about. A task that won’t take quite so long is compiling a list of Cisse’s recent achievements.

Three goals, two in the cups and one in the Premier League, isn’t hard to remember.

His sole league goal was the last in a 5-1 win over Stoke City. From the penalty spot. It sort of doesn’t count.

Remember all the talk of Manchester United bidding £19m for him?

That was 18 months ago. Alan Pardew spoke openly about the prospect of one of the true big boys coming in for his goal machine.

It seems a lifetime ago now.

Wednesday night was supposed to be a turning point of sorts. Cisse got his first league start since early October against Tottenham.

He worked hard, made great runs, many of which were not picked up by his team-mates, and missed three chances – one that could be fitted into the easy-ish category.

Cisse touched the ball 38 times, not bad for a centre-forward playing in a 4-0 defeat, and had three shots on goal. You couldn’t fault his effort.

Everyone at St James’ Park could see he gave his all and rustiness was definitely a factor.

Yet it didn’t happen for him. Again.

Was this the last time Cisse starts a match for Newcastle United? Think about it. This season for the club, on the field, is about looking forward to the next campaign.

Alan Pardew, I am sure, will give the much-improved Sammy Ameobi a run over the final dozen games.

Paul Dummett may get his chance as well and maybe even Sylvain Marveaux.

The Hatem Ben Arfa experiment is now unlikely to continue.

Yet up-front, the manager has only one option, which is to try to forge a partnership between Luuk De Jong and Loic Remy, suspended for the last three games.

The hope is both will remain at the club and sign long-term deals. The reality is one, probably Remy, or both could leave in the summer.

Pardew, however, cannot look at the rest of this season and think “best not play Remy as he’s not going to be here much longer.”

Newcastle need to start scoring goals again and as Cisse isn’t doing it and Yohan Cabaye has left, this leaves Remy, who has 11, plus the under-rated Yoan Gouffran.

De Jong says he wants to stay on Tyneside, so he has to play.

Where does that leave Cisse? It leaves him on the substitute’s bench, a place he now knows well.

It would be quite wrong to suggest Cisse was a flash in the pan and that those 13 goals in his first 14 games was a freaky never-to-be-seen again run.

The 28-year-old has never suffered such a fallow period before.

In the 2010-11 campaign, for example, he scored 22 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for Freiburg.

The following season saw him hit the net nine times in 17 games before Newcastle bought him.

Even last season, when for half of it he was played out of position to accommodate Demba Ba, he scored 13 times, many of them important, and he almost always contributed.

Some see his failures as a convenient stick to beat over the head of Pardew. The manager’s most persistent critics believe he is to blame for the club’s No 9’s dramatic loss of form.

It’s down to him alone Cisse has forgotten who to trap a ball, never mind score.

Does that really stand up toscrutiny?

Cisse missed a relatively simple chance against Tottenham early on, with the score 0-0, when he couldn’t beat Hugo Lloris from six yards.

He passed up an opportunity midway through the first half when his lob over the Tottenham goalkeeper fell wide. He should have at least hit the target as Lloris was slow coming off his line. A header late on came to nothing, despite the fact Lloris was falling over as Cisse connected.

His supporters, of which there remain many, claim that had the player been given a run instead of once being used an injury-time substitute he would be sharper and therefore the goals would come.

Yet you can’t hide from the fact that, when given chances thisseason, Cisse simply hasn’t taken them.

Because De Jong and Remy will begin most of the remaining games – you would imagine – his opportunities from now until May will be limited at best.

He could have left in January. He had enough options, but those who know him say he likes living here and wants to be a success at Newcastle United. This is commendable.

It would have been easy for him to press for a move to Qatar.

The football is awful, but there would have been several million quid in it for him.

All Cisse wants to do is play football, score some goals and start smiling again.

The awful truth for him and Newcastle United is it is probably going to happen somewhere else.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer