Mystery deepens with Papiss Cisse away in Equatorial Guinea on African Cup of Nations duty.

The striker with the best goals per minutes ratio in the Premier League this season, hasn’t even stepped onto the pitch yet in Senegal’s group matches so far.

papiss cisseExpected to be their main striker and best hope of goals, instead Papiss Cisse has sat on the bench watching Senegal’s opening two matches.

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The opening win over Ghana saw three substitutes used but no sign of the Newcastle striker, while it was a similar story on Friday. Senegal drawing 1-1 with South Africa and despite a win guaranteeing progression to the knockout stages, Cisse  remained unused despite once more three other subs being utilised.

When it comes to substitutes it isn’t altogether clear exactly how fit the Newcastle striker is to play, because with everybody named on the bench who isn’t in the starting eleven, it is impossible to tell who is actually a possibility to come on. In both matches so far, Senegal have had twelve players on the bench.

It is a bit of a sick joke that if Papiss Cisse is fit then he isn’t back where he is needed on Tyneside, with United desperate for a striker, instead of wasting his time sitting watching his Senegal teammates. Likewise, if he is injured then it would be doing him a lot more good being back at Newcastle and getting right for the upcoming matches.

As to his future, things are similarly up in the air.

Reminiscent of Delboy Trotter’s van in Only Fools and Horses, Cisse allegedly could be going to any one of Shanghai, Istanbul (Galatasaray) or…Swansea, with Mike Ashley seemingly happy to cash-in on a striker who will turn thirty in the summer when he’d have only a year left on his Newcastle contract, as things stand.