PAPISS Demba Cisse reported for training at Newcastle United’s training ground yesterday – as his team-mates were put through their paces in Portugal.
The striker’s dispute with the club over sponsors Wonga is seemingly no nearer being resolved.
Cisse, a devout Muslim, has refused to wear Wonga-branded kit on religious grounds.
The 28-year-old – who did not board Newcastle flight to Portugal for the club’s tour of Portugal on Wednesday – was pictured leaving the club’s training ground yesterday.
Cisse was willing to travel, but only if he didn’t have to wear the Wonga kit which United’s players are contractually obliged to wear.
The club have instead made provision for him to train on Tyneside.
With a successful resolution looking increasingly unlikely, Cisse’s days at St James’s Park look numbered, with the two sides’ positions having become entrenched.
The Senegal international’s departure would leave Newcastle needing to find a replacement – as well as sign the two strikers manager Alan Pardew said he wanted earlier this month.
Olympique Lyonnais owner Jean-Michel Aulas has claimed United have made contact about forward Bafetimbi Gomis along with Premier League rivals Aston Villa.
Newcastle were interested in Gomis during Kevin Keegan’s second spell as manager, when the 27-year-old was at Saint-Etienne.
And reports in France have also suggested that Olympique Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, 27, has been offered to Newcastle.
United have an interest in Gignac, but OM’s £12m valuation is considered too high.
Pardew’s No1 striking target is Villa’s Darren Bent.
It remains to be seen which proposed deals new director of football Joe Kinnear recommends to owner Mike Ashley.