Macdonald: Cisse can take the pressure off Ba

Legendary Newcastle United striker Malcolm Macdonald has tipped new signing Papiss Demba Cissé to be a success on Tyneside.

The Senegalese international joined the Magpies on Tuesday from SC Freiburg for an undisclosed fee - believed to be in the region of £10 million - and has already been handed the iconic number nine jersey.

NEWS: Newcastle sign Freiburg front-man Cisse

And Macdonald, a former holder of the number who netted 95 goals in 187 league games for the club from 1971-76, describes the shirt as something of ‘a challenge’.

"When I first arrived in the early 1970s I was made well aware of what the number nine shirt meant to Newcastle United supporters and to the area," he told

"It's a challenge. Putting it on is a challenge. There are those players that will react positively and those that buckle under the challenge. That's why I think certain players have avoided the number nine shirt."

With Cissé currently at the Africa Cup Of Nations alongside fellow Newcastle striker Demba Ba, Macdonald believes the pair's international understanding will work well at club level.

"It helps to play with a fellow national, at least on a communication and understanding level.

"I think the game has lost a bit of it's fluency in places because there isn’t that natural understanding that comes from common language."

Macdonald also feels that Cissé’s arrival will relinquish pressure on his 15-goal compatriot.

"There’s not been somebody else who has been able to just take that little bit of goal-scoring pressure off Demba Ba. The onus has always been on him and this will just balance things out a little bit," he said.

Given that manager Alan Pardew now has six first-team strikers at his disposal, Macdonald claims the arrival of the former Metz man may elicit a positive response from his competition.

"I think it could benefit the other strikers in truth. It should give them a kick up the backside. If they're not up for the fight then they aren't good enough. If a player came to me complaining about it, I’d say: 'Oh so you aren't up for the competition then?'"

Having scored 37 goals in 65 games for Freiburg, Cissé is considered one of Europe’s top marksmen, and Macdonald is confident his goal-scoring prowess can transcend the leagues.

"I always believe anyone who is well versed in scoring goals can go and do it anywhere. That’s one ability that no matter the level of football you can always accomplish," he concluded.

"Sticking the ball in the net is one thing that travels well in football."

By Kris Heneage