Newcastle in talks with Cisse
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is closing in on a shock swoop for Freiburg striker Papiss Demba Cisse.
Press Association Sport understands the Magpies have agreed an undisclosed fee for the Senegal international and that he is on Tyneside with a view to tying up the transfer.
Cisse, 26, would join international team-mate Demba Ba, who left for the African Nations Cup having scored 15 goals to date this season, on the Magpies' books.
Pardew revealed at the start of the January transfer window that the club were unlikely to recruit a striker this month after ending their interest in Sochaux's Modibo Maiga, but would instead concentrate on landing a central defender with Steven Taylor sidelined for the rest of the campaign by an Achilles injury.
However, it emerged in recent days that the Magpies, who failed to land a big-name frontman during the summer despite a concerted search, had rekindled their interest in Paris St Germain's Mevlut Erding. But it appears that it is Cisse, who has also been linked with derby rivals Sunderland and Tottenham in recent weeks, who is now the focus of their attention.
He has nine Bundesliga goals to his name so far this season and scored for his country in their 1-0 victory over Kenya in a warm-up game for the African Nations Cup, which gets underway in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon on Saturday. Cisse looks to have become available following Cologne frontman Sebastien Freis' arrival at Freiburg.
Ba, of course, has been linked with a move away from Tyneside this month after it emerged that he has a release clause in the contract he signed last summer as Newcastle took a gamble on his long-term fitness.
That has paid off handsomely with the former West Ham man having established himself as one of the most prolific goalscorers in the Barclays Premier League this term.
While angry that news of the clause has leaked out, the Magpies are confident they can hang on to a player who has shown few signs of wanting to leave a club where he has rapidly established himself as a local hero. Attracting an international team-mate might well strengthen his ties and persuade Ba that his future remains in the north east.
Cisse was rated at around £14million during the summer, but it is understood the fee is significantly less than that with the Magpies continuing to exploit the European market, a policy which has proved hugely productive in recent seasons.