Roy Keane's ambition to add a fresh dimension to Sunderland as he begins his third season on Wearside was revealed yesterday in the left-field signing of former £14m Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé. Cissé, famous for the appalling leg-break he suffered at Ewood Park in October 2004, as well as for his goals and colourful off-pitch demeanour, has joined on a one-year loan from Marseilles.
According to reports in France the loan deal was secured with €2.5m – £2m – but Sunderland will consider that good value if Cissé, still only 27 and with a European Cup winner's medal from Istanbul on his CV, can score 10-15 goals in the Premier League. Keane reiterated the point yesterday that Kenwyne Jones was top scorer last season with seven.
Cissé scored 27 goals in 54 matches for Marseilles last season, including three in Europe. But he was a substitute for Sunday's French league game at home to Auxerre – won 4-0 by Marseilles – and the club's chairman Pape Diouf explained that Cissé was not happy with that situation due to the effect it could have on his international career.
"The last game against Auxerre definitely ruined his desire to stay," Diouf said of Cisse. "He was like every player who doesn't play, affected. Moving to Sunderland is not an emotional decision. But the transfer window is nearing its end and he has wished to move on with a deep desire to play."
Keane hopes to sign three players in the next 48 hours. "Of the deals I have mentioned two of those would be loan deals," he said. "There's one or two players we believe that people will say: 'I didn't see that one coming.'"
With one striker set to arrive on Wearside, Sunderland were busy pursuing two others, Fulham's David Healy and Blackburn's Benni McCarthy.
Healy, the Northern Ireland international, has a dilemma now because with Cisse joining, Jones returning from injury in October and Daryl Murphy and Michael Chopra already at the Stadium of Light, Healy could effectively be swapping the bench at Fulham for one at Sunderland.
McCarthy's potential arrival would further crowd the picture and the Blackburn striker was said to have told South Africa colleagues following their friendly with Australian on Tuesday night that Sunderland have made an improved bid for him.
Elsewhere in the north-East, Javier Saviola, whom Newcastle United are interested in, has said that after discussions with Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster, he sees his future at the Bernabeu, at least in the short-term. Saviola has been told that he will retain Real's No 9 shirt even though he played only nine games last season.
But the 26 year-old former Barcelona player has not been dismissive of Newcastle and could yet become Kevin Keegan's third Argentine on Tyneside, following Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini. "Nobody has come to me from Newcastle but I have found out about their interest by other means," Saviola said yesterday. "At the present time I'm with Real Madrid and my future is here.
"When the league begins then we will see what my situation is but my desire is the same, to work hard and have minutes on the pitch. It is important that the coach trusts me, it's the best thing that can happen to a footballer. I hope to play enough games to justify my presence. I already have that confirmed from Schuster in confidence."Reuse content