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Newcastle confident of retaining Cisse despite Anzhi speculation
NEWCASTLE United are confident of holding on to Papiss Cisse this summer despite mounting speculation linking the striker with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Cisse's agent, Nickolay Guido, yesterday claimed a number of Russian sides had expressed an interest in the Senegal international.
Russian media outlets have claimed Anzhi have lodged a £15.4m bid for Cisse, who has four years remaining on his current deal at St James' Park.
However, senior Newcastle sources insist the club have not received any approach for the 27-year-old and are not anticipating a formal offer from Anzhi.
Cisse scored in both legs of Newcastle's Europa League victory over Anzhi, and the cash-laden Russian club are expected to bring in at least one new centre-forward this summer.
However, their interest in Cisse is still at a very formative stage, and it may not be a coincidence that the latest round of stories have appeared at the same time as the striker's representatives have indicated a desire to renegotiate the terms of their client's deal.
Demba Ba's departure has left Cisse as the senior centre-forward on Newcastle's books, and it is understood the Senegal international feels he deserves an enhanced reward for his performances since he moved to Tyneside from Freiburg.
Given that Cisse only arrived at St James' Park in January 2012, there is little chance of Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias agreeing to a new deal.
The pair are notorious for digging their heels in when it comes to contract negotiations, and they will not be brow-beaten by Cisse, who failed to match the performances of his first few months in a Newcastle shirt last term.
They will be reluctant to lose the African, particularly as their early attempts to push through a deal for either Andy Carroll or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have failed to come to fruition.
However, as the Carroll saga proved, every player has their price and Ashley is not afraid to sell a leading figure despite a lack of alternatives.
It remains to be seen whether Anzhi emerge as genuine suitors, but Cisse's representatives are adamant there is strong interest from Russia.
"Russian clubs have shown interest in Papiss at the same time," said Guido. "But I don't want to name the names of the clubs as it wouldn't be a correct step from me."
Cisse, who cost Newcastle £9m when he moved from Germany, finished last season with eight Premier League goals from 36 appearances.
Meanwhile, the Magpies have been credited with an interest in Derby County youngster Will Hughes.