Newcastle fans have been somewhat bemused by the transfer of Seydou Doumbia.
With United desperate for goals to try and win Premier League survival, the striker with a superb goals ratio in Russia arrived at St James Park in January.
The deal with AS Roma was widely reported as an initial loan but with a permanent deal angle as well – a bit of a surprise with Seydou Doumbia being 28, well outside Mike Ashley’s normal comfort zone. Though the hope was that the NUFC owner had accepted that you have to take a pragmatic approach and now bring in the best players you can, whatever their ages.
Despite getting back to full fitness and Newcastle looking desperate in front of goal, Seydou Doumbia has only had 29 minutes on the pitch spread over three substitute appearances.
Supporters have been left thinking that Newcastle have another Facundo Ferreyra on their hands but it looks as though there may be more to it than meets the eye.
What was especially puzzling was that a dreadful match against Stoke City saw Newcastle not trouble the home goal all night, only for Seydou Doumbia to come on for a few minutes and in that time he turned a run of the mill cross from Jonjo Shelvey into what looked a certain goal with a brilliant sharp shot, only for Jack Butland to produce a top class reflex save.
Despite this, Doumbia was left on the bench for the entirety of the shocking 3-1 defeat by Bournemouth.
The Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero may have now come up with the answer as to why.
They say that after scoring 11 goals in 17 starts (plus 4 as sub) for CSKA Moscow on loan, the deal that was agreed with Newcastle had a trigger clause which had been absent from their arrangement with the Russian club.
Il Messaggero say that their information is that when making the deal, AS Roma insisted on a clause that meant Newcastle United would be committed to paying 22m euros (£17.39m) if he made 10 appearances for United before the end of the season.
Difficult to imagine Mike Ashley wanting to see that clause activated even if Newcastle stayed up, never mind ending up in the Championship.
Little surprise then if Newcastle fans will wonder if Seydou Doumbia has been held back from matches to ensure the 10 game clause isn’t activated.
If you believe the Rome-based newspaper are correct, it would have been quite tricky if he had played and done well, only to then be dropped by Newcastle as the 10 game mark approached!
With only eight games remaining, Seydou Doumbia could play in six and remain below that 10 match total.
Interesting to see if he does now get more of a chance and even more interesting to see if he can convert his remarkable goalscoring form of 118 goals in 137 league starts (plus sub appearances) to the Premier League.