Newcastle United signed striker Papiss Demba Cisse from SC Freiburg of Bundesliga on Tuesday for a reported £10 million (officially undisclosed). (NUFC Official Site) Cisse, 26, has long been a rumored target of the club, but until now, Freiburg had successfully rebuffed Newcastle's efforts. He has an excellent scoring record (37 goals in 65 games), especially considering that he has always been the primary scoring threat for his club.
Papiss Cisse will now presumably work alongside Demba Ba at the top of the Toon formation, and the two will have some time to get acquainted over the next several weeks, as both are currently representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations. Like Ba and Cheik Tiote, who is representing Cote d'Ivoire at the same tournament, Cisse will not join the team until after his team is eliminated, but he flew to Tyneside to complete his medical and the requisite paperwork on his five-and-a-half year deal. Papiss posed for a picture with his new shirt - complete with #9 on the back.
For his part, Cisse seems perfectly aware of the responsibilities associated with the honor:
I am aware of the huge importance of the number nine shirt, and when I spoke with the manager he made it very clear how important this shirt is. I will treat it with the respect and I hope to do my very best in this shirt.
This is obviously a huge signing. English teams (including Liverpool, Arsenal, and Sunderland, of course) have been coveting Cisse for the last couple of years, but nobody has been more connected to him than Newcastle. That they were able to grab such a prolific goalscorer for a mere £10 million - in January - is nothing short of a coup. This is the new Newcastle way - using their best resource in Graham Carr to find talent that they wouldn't have to overpay for.
The wait to see his debut is going to be agonizing. If things go right for Senegal, his first appearance could be more than a month away, on February 25 at home. It will be a long wait, but the Toon Army is now accustomed to waiting. It's taken 50 weeks to replace him, and it will take longer than that to get the new player on the pitch, but there's a new #9 on Tyneside.