Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse
Speculation surrounding Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has intensified over the past seven days, with the Magpies’ No. 9 on course for a preseason showdown with his club.
As suggested by Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail, the Senegal international has taken issue with the team’s new shirt sponsor and will allegedly refuse to wear next season’s kit.
The 28-year-old, who has netted 26 times in 61 games for the Geordies, is also set to ask for a pay rise ahead of the new 2013-14 campaign, according to The Independent's Martin Hardy.
With doubts now clouding his future on Tyneside, and with Sky Sports reporting interest in the player from the Russian Premier League, we take a look at five clubs that could be ready to pounce should Newcastle decide to offload the forward.
Could Robert Lewandowski hold the key to a Dortmund move for Cisse?
Borussia Dortmund’s highly sought-after forward, Robert Lewandowski, could hold the key to any move for Papiss Cisse, with the Germans already credited with an interest in the Newcastle star by John Cross from the Mirror.
While Lewandowski’s move to Bayern Munich looks to have collapsed, a string of the continent’s top clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea, are now on high alert regarding the Polish international’s availability, as reported by Luke Edwards in The Telegraph.
His potential exit could see Dortmund step up their interest in Cisse, paving the way for a return to the Bundesliga for a player who scored 39 times for SC Freiburg during a three-year stay before joining the Magpies in 2011.
And while the Champions League runners-up wouldn’t be his only option, the chance to play for Jurgen Klopp in Europe’s premier club competition would offer a huge incentive.
Cisse scores the winner against Anzhi in last season's Europa League
With Anzhi Makhachkala spending big money since being taken over by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov in January 2011, it’s no surprise to see them linked with a move for Papiss Cisse.
Could Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti convince Cisse to try his luck in Russia?
Alongside Anzhi Makhachkala, Zenit St Petersburg are another Russian club not averse to making huge signings, and they startled the football world in September last year by splashing out £83 million on Givanildo "Hulk" Souza and Axel Witsel.
Having already resigned Anatoliy Tymoshchuk from European champions Bayern Munich this summer, Zenit are looking to go one better next season after missing out on the league title to CSKA Moscow by just two points.
But their runners-up spot does mean they are in a position to offer Champions League football to any potential signings, with their Italian manager Luciano Spalletti looking to spend big once more.
Tottenham have been tracking Cisse since 2011
Following reports from Darren Lewis of the Mirror that Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is looking to reshape his striking options this summer, could this be the window that sees the North Londoners finally make their move?
Atletico are in the market for a new striker following the departure of Falcao
While Papiss Cisse has no prior experience of playing in Spain, Diego Simeone’s side have the ambition required to turn a few heads this summer, as demonstrated when they lifted last season’s Copa del Rey by beating rivals Real Madrid.
And with Champions League football on offer, a move to the Estadio Vicente Calderon could well prove tempting for some of Europe’s top players over the coming months.