Newcastle United last night became the biggest spenders so far in the January transfer window after securing an £8 million deal to sign the Senegalese forward Papiss Cissé. Cissé underwent a medical in the North-east yesterday after a deal was agreed between Newcastle and the German side SC Freiburg. That price could rise by a further £1m if the 26-year-old's move to the Premier League is a success.
The final elements of Cissé's personal terms on a five-and-a-half-year deal were agreed late last night, and the pace at which the move has happened is to ensure that he can join his fellow countrymen at the African Cup of Nations.
Cissé's goalscoring level at both club and international level has been impressive. He scored 37 times in his two-year spell in the Bundesliga and similarly has a better than a goal every two game average with his country (seven goals in 12 games).
Newcastle officials also believe the signing will be a signal of their intent, given that Cissé was coveted by several Premier League clubs. The player scored 22 times last season for Freiburg, a club record that is also the most an African player has scored in a single campaign in the Bundesliga.
The signing of Cissé is not expected to impact upon his international team-mate Demba Ba. Ba's position has drawn speculation ever since a clause in his contract was revealed allowing him to leave for around £7m .
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp admitted he had an interest in the forward, who has already scored 15 goals this season, but there were assertions from those close to Ba last night that he would not be leaving because of Cissé's arrival.
Indeed it is understood to be the case that the clause in his contract actually stipulated that Ba cannot be sold until the summer transfer window. Instead the pair will be united on Tyneside when Senegal's involvement in the African Cup of Nations ends in what is hoped will be a partnership to further Newcastle's push for a European qualification place.
Cissé was shown around St James' Park yesterday evening. However, it is not known whether he will take the No 9 shirt that was vacated last January when Andy Carroll moved to Liverpool for £35m.