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Newcastle keeping tabs on Cisse replacement in Switzerland

| 09.03.2015

Banned for seven season-defining games after spitting on Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, Papiss Cisse may be running out of chances at Newcastle United.

The 29-year-old may have weighed in with 11 Premier League goals from just 19 appearances in the top-flight this term, but this latest indiscretion could prove to be the final straw for both Mike Ashley and current manager John Carver.

A solid goalscorer during his first season and a half at St James’ Park, Cisse racked up 26 goals in his first 61 outings for the Toon, helping fill the void left by the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea.

However, during the 2013-14 campaign, the Senegal international managed a much leaner return of four goals in 26 games.

Then there have been the reports of unrest.

There were the claims, reportedly from Cisse, that he was unhappy that the club was being sponsored by money-lending service Wonga, claiming it was at odds with his religious beliefs.

Yet those claims soon appeared as nothing more than the striker agitating for a move away, with pictures emerging of Cisse in a casino.

Qatari side Al-Rayyan were among those linked with a big money move for the forward, as reported by The Mirror, yet Newcastle seemingly resisted the urge to sell.

But after a seven-game ban that will rule the striker out for the majority of the season, a change of heart may be in order.

Reports even suggest Newcastle have begun the process of seeking out a successor to Cisse with the Daily Mail reporting that the Toon sent scouts to watch Moussa Konate in action.

The 21-year-old is a Senegal international who currently plies his trade in Switzerland with FC Sion.

A quick, intelligent player who is equally adept at delivering a killer pass as he is finishing off a goalscoring opportunity, the striker spent time in Russia with FC Krasnodar and Italy with Genoa before finding his feet in Europe.

In 14 appearances so far this term, Konate has scored six goals and was among the scorers at the weekend, with Sion going down 3-2 to Everton’s old Europa League opponents Young Boys.

Capable of playing as an out-and-out striker as well as either on the wing or in a supporting forward role, the 5ft 11in attacker would likely be available for a cut-price fee and could prove a canny addition to the Newcastle fold.

What that means for the future of Cisse, however, remains to be seen.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.