Cisse wants to be main man for Magpies again
Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse is ready to terrorise Barclays Premier League defences once again - as long as he gets to play in his favoured position.
The Senegal international spent the first half of last season playing in an unaccustomed wide right-side role as Demba Ba got the nod through the middle, and memories of his blistering start in English football soon faded.
However, the 28-year-old is confident he will return to the form which brought him 13 goals in his first 14 Newcastle appearances, provided manager Alan Pardew plays him as his number nine.
Cisse told the Chronicle: "I hope to play in my best position as much as I can. My best position is striker.
"I had never played right wing in my life. It was my first time at Newcastle. It was okay because I was doing it for the team.
"It was difficult last year because we were fighting not to go down. The year before, all of the players enjoyed the games and couldn't wait for the next one.
"We tried our best, but we hopefully will have all of our players back, not too many injuries.
"We have a good squad. I enjoy playing for this team. Next season, we will challenge.
"We have Hatem Ben Arfa, [Moussa] Sissoko and Yohan Cabaye, and the team can challenge at the higher end of the table."
However, if Newcastle are to mount the kind of challenge they did two seasons ago, they will need to find the man - or men - they need to support Cisse.
Pardew's mission to recruit at least one foil for the former Freiburg man was identified as the main focus this summer long before a disappointing campaign drew to a close.
But to date the Magpies, with new director of football Joe Kinnear now heading the hunting party, have been directed up a series of blind alleys.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang's move to Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund ended a long-standing interest in the player, although Newcastle were never likely to be able to match either Dortmund's pulling power or selling club St Etienne's valuation given their established recruitment policy.
They have also been given permission to talk to Wigan's Arouna Kone, although the Ivorian's intention to be re-united with former manager Roberto Martinez at Everton appears to have ended their interest.
Want-away Aston Villa frontman Darren Bent is on the club's list of potential targets, but the Magpies are only interested in a cut-price deal and their hopes of landing the 29-year-old may ultimately come down to how desperate the Midlanders are to offload the England international.
Loic Remy's representatives have been busy once again during the opening days of the summer transfer window, with the 26-year-old France international looking for someone to activate the relegation release clause in the QPR player's contract.
Newcastle thought they had captured Remy in January until the Londoners blew them out of the water with a financial package which they were simply not prepared to match, although their investment proved to be in vain.
But having been snubbed once, the Magpies are unlikely to return to the scene of the crime.
Intriguingly, Ba, the man whose exit to Chelsea prompted the Remy mission, now appears to be surplus to new manager Jose Mourinho's requirements, although cash-rich Anzhi Makhachkala's reported interest is significant.
The current lack of tangible progress on the transfer front has simply served to increase the frustration of fans baffled by Kinnear's appointment and concerned that he will be unable to get deals over the line.
Indeed, there is a school of thought which suggests the approach for Kone was simply a token gesture aimed at appeasing the malcontents and had little chance of succeeding.