WHEN Roy Keane bemoaned the lack of ‘characters’ in Sunderland’s dressing room last season, it was fair to assume his summer transfer recruitment would bring a few big personalities to the Stadium of Light.

The loan signing of Djibril Cisse secured Keane a larger-than-life character whose colourful CV, alongside his football exploits, includes spells as a film star, fashion label owner and, bizarrely, Lord of The Manor.

The latter title dates from Cisse’s time with Liverpool when he paid £2m for a stately home in the Cheshire countryside, complete with stables and a chauffeur’s cottage, that included the hereditary title ‘Lord of the Manor of Frodsham’, a moniker that dates back to the Domesday Book.

Cisse didn’t endear himself to the local country set by banning the Cheshire fox hunt from riding through his land.

And while he claimed that he regarded the title as something of a joke, Cisse ensured his son, Prince, was born in a Chester hospital so that his inheritance of the Lord Frodsham name would not be in dispute.

The eccentric striker played a cameo role in the French film The Eleven Commandments, has released a hip hop compilation CD, launched his own clothing label and boasts spells as a celebrity DJ.

Sunderland fans can look forward to their new number nine sporting an array of wild hairstyles that often include matching facial hair and piercings – the barbers of Wearside should brace themselves for copycat fans demanding Cisse’s latest style.

The striker epitomises the term cult hero – adored by supporters but his fiery personality has seen him clash with managers. Rumours of a feud with Gerard Houllier dogged his time at Anfield after the Liverpool manager had smashed the club transfer record to pay French club Auxerre £14m for his services.

The less appealing side of the Cisse story is that in 2006 he was cautioned by police for attacking his pregnant wife and a year earlier he received a caution for an assault on a 15- year-old boy.

Two horrific injuries have prevented Cisse from fulfilling his early potential but his recovery after breaking his leg in 2004 and again in 2006 speaksvolumes for his determination.

Nine goals in 37 games for his country and a return of 22 goals in 52 matches for Marseille last season suggest the Black Cats may have bagged a striker who will terrorise Premier League defences.

With Pascal Chimbonda, El-Hadji Diouf and now Cisse, Roy Keane has a dressing room bursting with flamboyant characters – his challenge is to fit all of those egos into one team.