Magpies scout finally gets his man

BIG IMPACT: Papiss Cisse

BIG IMPACT: Papiss Cisse

First published in Football The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

TOTTENHAM may be interested in signing Demba Ba this summer, but it has emerged they previously had to admit defeat in their pursuit of Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse.

When Graham Carr, the Magpies' chief scout, was on the recruitment team at White Hart Lane he recommended Spurs made moves to acquire Cisse from French club Metz.

Carr's ability to scout promising European-based talent has been highlighted since accepting the role on Tyneside in February 2010, but his success in that period was built on the research he had done over a number of years.

Prior to his time at Newcastle, the 67-year-old was scouting for Manchester City and Tottenham, where he was when he first came across a young Senegalese striker at Metz.

"I remember watching Papiss Cisse when he was young - alongside Sebastian Bassong with Metz," said Carr. "He was quick, a goalscorer and I would have liked to have signed him before we did. I have been keeping an eye on him for years, like I always do with players.

"But it was difficult for English clubs to do a deal with Metz because of passport rules. It was easier for him to go to Germany, so he did and he scored goals for fun there.

"We looked at a deal when I was at Tottenham. I think all of the clubs over here would have been looking at him and thinking similar. I'm just happy he is at Newcastle now and showing what he can do."

Since arriving from Freiburg in January in a £9m deal, Cisse's 13 goals in 14 appearances for Newcastle have provided evidence of his quality.

The fact he has slotted in quickly has even allowed Newcastle to consider selling Ba, who is understood to be available this summer because of a release clause in his contract.

Both the African strikers had been monitored closely by Carr, who was awarded a new eight-year contract last Thursday on the back of recommending success stories like Ba and Cisse to manager Alan Pardew.

Now Carr, also responsible for deals for the likes of Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye, knows he must keep producing. He has put the name of Ajax's Vurnon Anita forward recently and was the man behind a deal for Romain Amalfitano.

Amalfitano, 22, will officially join Newcastle on July 1 after his contract with French Ligue 2 club Reims has expired.

And Carr has explained why, even if he has warned supporters not to expect too much too soon from the versatile midfielder.

Carr said: "Romain is a young lad and has made good progress. He has been playing in the promotion winning team in the French second division and every time I have seen him play he has stood out.

"He has caught my eye each time so I thought he is worth giving a chance to. It's good for him and the team that he can play in a number of roles.

"He will not have the impact Yohan Cabaye did in his first few weeks, months, but he has got plenty potential. Hopefully he can help the team progress further."

Another of Carr's targets, meanwhile, has claimed he is unaware of any formal offers being made for him.

Dutch striker Luuk de Jong is wanted by Newcastle, Tottenham and Bayern Munich after starring for Twente.

He said: I have still heard nothing and I therfore assume that I just stay at Twente. Perhaps something very attractive will come. Then I will consider it."

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