Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Demba at the double

I think it's fair to say that, until yesterday, the transfer window had been something of a non-event. The only significant deal to have gone through was Gary Cahill's move from Bolton to Chelsea, one that's been mooted for months. So credit to us for springing a bit of a surprise.

True, we'd been linked with Freiburg's Papiss Demba Cisse before, but he appeared to be out of our price range and firmly in the sights of deeper-pocketed Premier League rivals including the Mackems. But no sooner had Paul reported on rumours the Senegalese striker was in Toon for a medical than it was announced that the deal was done, the wheels oiled by Freiburg's capture of a replacement. For a club whose transfer business is so often conducted out in the open, much to our detriment, the swiftness and decisiveness of this move - and the secrecy in which it was swaddled - is refreshing.

A fee of around £10m - more than I thought Jabba would be prepared to part with for a single player, I admit - has secured us the services of one of the most deadly marksmen in the Bundesliga. Not only that, but he's an international team-mate of Demba Ba, and flew off to rejoin the Senegal squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations once he'd signed. My first fear was that he was being brought in as a pre-emptive replacement for Ba (which, admittedly, would at least have indicated a welcome if unusual degree of forward planning on our part), but the Silver Fox has spoken excitedly about the pair teaming up in black and white.

Cisse's arrival, and the immediate assignment of the vacant number nine shirt to him, will of course be deflating for some - particularly Big Lad and Leon O'Best, who showed against QPR that they can prove adequate substitutes for our absent leading goalscorer. But in the bigger picture it can only be good for the club that we've significantly enhanced our firepower.

Here's hoping Demba #2 proves to be as astute a signing as Demba #1.

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