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Come in number nine?

5 years ago

Waking up on Saturday to the news that Papiss Cisse was being linked with a move to Fenerbahce was no great surprise to me, having been present at the opening game against Southampton.

He scored but I felt his overall performance was sluggish and sloppy.

On leaving SJP I remarked to my uncle how I could not see much of a future for him under Steve McClaren, as great link-up play with the midfield never has been one of Papiss’ greatest strengths.

If we want to truly develop as a team, having a striker who can do this seems essential, and I think it is to McCkaren. Sometimes he struggles with the simplest of five-yard passes leading St James to a simultaneous groan.

If we could get around the £8 million mark for Cisse, are there any fans out there that would seriously not take it?

I have been unsure for a while about Cisse as our number nine. I know his goal record since his arrival in 2012 is at least, respectable, and without doubt his goals eventually kept us up in the horror show of last season. The Newcastle number nine shirt as we all know though, can be heavy one.

As a kid I used to religiously watch the ‘magnificent number nines’ on VHS, going through the entire history of great number nines we have had throughout the history of the club.

Obviously the likes of Milburn, White, Macdonald, Sir Les and Shearer, are legends of the club, and maybe it would be unfair to compare these great figures with our Senegalese striker.

Having said that, many other Newcastle number nines, the likes of Wyn Davis, Andy Cole and more recently Andy Carroll, were often the focal point of the team as well as big characters to boot. Cisse is neither of these and has not been for some time.

I would not say that we need to be making an effort to sell him necessarily. That may be a touch harsh.

Strength in depth will be hugely important in what I think will be a tight premier league this season, particularly in the middle of the table. Just look around as our rivals are strengthening, even if we are as well.

So why not just go and pay the £15 million for Charlie Austin? Yes, we have already spent money this summer, but one last boost before September could make a big difference.

With Austin or potentially another new striker as our number nine, battling for a place with Mitrovic, Perez (who can also play out wide), Cisse and Rivière, we could be moving forward with real depth in the forward areas.

Even if we do not pay Austin’s price tag and no further faces arrive, in the long-term I would still like to see Mitrovic, or even as a slightly left-field option, Ayoze Perez given a chance in the number nine shirt.

Both already look crucial to the way we will be playing for much of this season. In addition, if they stay clear of injuries and other clubs prying eyes, they could be the future of our club.

Mitrovic looks a real handful already and once he gets acclimatised to English football, I am convinced he will score goals.

Cisse has had a good run in the shirt but I hope that a change is coming sooner rather than later. One more striker could gain us three or four places if the right man is brought in.

You can follow Jack on Twitter @JackLaceyHatton

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