Papiss Cisse's Newcastle future is in huge doubt after the forward was left out of the club's pre-season trip to Portugal because of his refusal to wear Wonga-branded training gear.
Cisse will instead begin training on his own in private at Newcastle's Benton training ground today in non Wonga branded kit.
The Senegalese striker, a Muslim, has raised an objection on religious and ethical grounds that he would not wear the Wonga branding. Under Sharia Law a Muslim is not allowed to benefit from lending money or receiving money from someone. This means earning interest is not allowed. Wonga's APR is over 4000 per cent.
Cisse had taken his standpoint to Newcastle officials but days of talks have been unable to find a compromise.
Owner Mike Ashley and new sponsors Wonga stood firm on the £24 million deal they agreed in October last year for all players to wear kit branded by the payday lenders.
The compromise so far has been to officially let the 27-year-old, who cost £9 million from Freiburg, remain in the North-east for the following week and train on his own.
However that uneasy truce will be cast into further doubt when Newcastle return from their base in Portugal next Wednesday.
At that point Newcastle seem certain to look for ways to offload the forward, or risk a potentially damaging row with the PFA and the individual rights of one of their players.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew can ill-afford the row over one of the few regular goalscoring forwards at his club.
Shola Ameobi, who did not even travel to Newcastle's first friendly against Motherwell on Tuesday night, has travelled to the camp in Portugal, even though there is a huge question mark over his own future at the club. Ameobi was unhappy at his lack of playing time last season and has been linked with moves to North-east rivals Middlesbrough and Birmingham.
Pardew is keen to bring in the England forward Darren Bent, who has no future at Aston Villa, and he wants at least one more forward as well but the Cisse problem may see him look for further striking options in the summer transfer market.
Newcastle have yet to sign a big name player since Joe Kinnear was controversially appointed as the club's director of football last month.Reuse content