Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did you come from…Papiss Cisse?
Almost like Harry Houdini, one moment he was there, and then he was gone. No one could really remember where’d he come from and neither could they tell where he’d gone – it is the mystery that is Papiss Cisse.
Unlike his compatriot and teammate at Newcastle Demba Ba, there would be no big move to a Premier League giant nor any real rumour of one for Cisse.
While Ba left St James’ Park for the heady heights of Chelsea – with the striker scoring *that* goal against Liverpool after Steven Gerrard’s slip – Cisse drifted out of English football to join Chinese side Shangahi Shenhua and is currently at Turkish club Alanyaspor.
Although the Senegalese forward is a definitive cult figure of Premier League football – one the streets will never forget, as they say – he remains something of an enigma.
While perhaps never a prolific goalscorer during his time with the Magpies – with his last three seasons at the club combined yielding just 18 goals – he was undoubtedly a scorer of great goals.
Before we delve into that glorious effort against Chelsea – you know the one we mean – some context is needed about the footballing past of our main man.
Beginning his career with a prolific one-season spell in his homeland, Cisse then moved to French side Metz, as the club flip-flopped between the first and second tier of French football. With his game time often limited, as well being shipped out for two loan spells in the lower echelons, the striker moved to Freiburg.
It was in Germany that Cisse emerged as one to watch, with the 2010/11 season seeing him score 20 times in the Bundesliga, a tally bettered only that campaign by German hotshot Mario Gomez.
After a further nine goals in 17 league games at the start of the following season, Cisse secured a move to England with Newcastle in January 2012 for £9m – a steal, even then.
To say he made a good start to life in the Premier League is an understatement, as the new number nine scored 13 league goals in just 14 games, helping Alan Pardew’s side finish fifth in the league – earning his new manager an eight-year contract in the process. Good job, Papiss!
It was in that glorious season for the club that Cisse scored one of the greatest goals English football has ever seen. After a Newcastle throw in, the ball fell to the feet of the striker, who in turn whipped the ball into the top corner with the outside of his right boot. Pure genius.
Perhaps he’d set himself up to fail after such a stunning start to life in English football, or perhaps he was hampered by the dramatic drop in form of his side, but Cisse was unable to repeat his first season heroics.
While it makes sense that no bigger club would take a punt on a player who largely only had one amazing six-month spell, it is a great shame that a player of his quality never played for an elite team.
Although this may seem harsh on Newcastle, there can be no denying that with Mike Ashley – and Pardew – at the helm, the club were only going in one direction. Down.
And yet, while Cisse may have failed to provide consistency, his importance to his club could not be underestimated. In the last 16 of the Europa League in the 2012/13 season, the forward scored a 94th-minute winner to help his side defeat Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, sending them into the next round.
That may have been as good as it got in truth, but Cisse’s career has certainly not taken a nosedive. While he may have left the north of England to little fanfare, he’s still finding the back of the net in Turkey.
The 34-year-old has scored over 30 league goals in two seasons for his latest club, in what has arguably been the most prolific spell of his career so far.
A final swan-song back in the Prem, perhaps? Steve Bruce is certainly in the market for a striker…