Newcastle closes in on Freiburg frontman
Newcastle is closing in on a £10million swoop for Freiburg striker Papiss Cisse, after reportedly opening talks with the Senegalese hitman.
The 26-year-old has emerged as one of the most feared strikers in Germany over the past 18 months after notching 22 goals last season and having nine to his name so far this term.
The likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Blackburn and Aston Villa have all been strongly linked whilst Sunderland were understood to be close to sealing a deal last summer.
The Black Cats have again been strongly linked this January, but it is now believed that Newcastle are close to pulling of the coup.
Cisse is currently away with Senegal on African Nations Cup duty, coincidentally with prospective new Newcastle team-mate, Demba Ba.
According to Sky Sports, Cisse is flying into Tyneside on Tuesday to undergo a medical and finalize the deal, before flying back out to Africa and linking up with his Senegal team-mates.
Toon manager Alan 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 Saint-Germain's Mevlut Erding.
But it appears that it is Cisse who is now the focus of their attention.
Cisse looks to have become available following Cologne frontman Sebastian 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 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.
Newcastle climbed back into the top six as a result of their 1-0 home win over QPR on Sunday and head for Fulham at the weekend knowing an extension of their form over the first half of the season could see them fighting for European qualification.
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.