Papiss Cisse has not quite lived up to his sensational form of last season so far this campaign. Should Newcastle have cashed in on the striker while the iron was hot?
Papiss Cisse was in no doubt the signing of the January transfer window, and came so close to firing Newcastle to a Champions League spot.
He scored a sensational 13 goals in 14 Premier League games, and they weren't tap in's either, ranging from the clinical to the incomprehensible.
For £10 million, it was an incredibly piece of astute business for Newcastle - once again.
Fast forward to November, and so far this season Papiss Cisse has three goals in all 14 games in all competitions, and has looked a shadow of the striker he was last season. It's understandable, form comes and goes - But should Newcastle have cashed in while the iron was hot?
It worked with Andy Carroll, another striker who had a six month hot streak at Newcastle - and fetched a massively overpriced £35 million. Newcastle were laughing all the way to the bank, as Liverpool quickly found out the striker could not maintain his form.
Cisse was excellent last season, but as we are finding out this campaign, scoring 'world class' strikes every game isn't sustainable, and he looks a totally different player. He has looked more like an out of form player who could live up to his £10 million price tag with a bit of luck.
Last season he was just outstanding, and Newcastle easily could have demanded double if not treble what they paid for him. If Newcastle came out and said 'He's for sale - Start the bidding at £25 million' you can bet there would have been takers; there was already paper talk as soon as April linking Manchester City, Manchester United, and even Real Madrid with him/
Newcastle would have made a massive profit on a player who had spent barely six months at the club, and they too could have ploughed the funds into another striker like Marseille's Loic Remy. It would once again have been confirmation of Mike Ashley's superb negotiating skills, and the money would have been welcome, considering Newcastle did not decide they had enough to make any big signings over the summer, relying on cheap pick-ups instead, of which they are yet to reap the benefit.
We admit, selling Cisse would have been a very unpopular move, and this would have been the main reason for deciding against it. By the sounds of it, no bids came in, had they have done, the club may have been forced into a decision.
But even if Newcastle had put him up for sale, there's no guarantee a bid of the Carroll size would come in, and then they would have unsettled their star man all for nothing.
As fans of Arsenal will pass on, selling your best players year on year is no sustainable plan for success on the pitch, at some stage the club needs to keep them, and with each major sale, it becomes more difficult to resist other bids.
Cisse's sale would likely have led to disillusionment in other players, particularly international teammate Demba Ba, and would take away the unity Newcastle are so desperately trying to keep.
Selling Carroll was a one-off, and fitted with the transition in management at the time, allowing Alan Pardew the funds to shape his own side, and it has worked spectacularly, with clever additions like Yohann Cabaye, exactly the type of star who could look at Cisse leaving and decide he wants to be the next through the exit door.
While Cisse's form this season has been pretty average, and with hindsight the possibility of cashing in on him looks tempting, the con's outweigh the pro's. At the end of the day Newcastle need a successful team on the pitch, not just in the boardroom. The risk that letting the striker depart would open the floodgates for other star wanting out too, would just have been too big to take, and considering Newcastle's amazing success last season, why rip that up?
It looks like Newcastle have got it right by tying their stars down to long-term deals, and well done to them. Let's hope they get their loyalty repaid.
So let us know your opinion? Should Newcastle have cashed in? Or did they do right by making it clear from early on in the summer that he wasn't for sale?
image: © machernucha