Salim Cissé 21 Striker Sporting Guinea
2013 has been…
It would be hard for any footballer to say no to Sporting Club de Portugal. No matter of experience, ability or age; there are few players in the world not at least aware of the Portuguese giants and their impressive haul of over 30 domestic league and cup victories. They are an appealing proposition.So it was of little surprise to see Salim Cisse agree to join Sporting after a promising first season in the Liga ZON Sagres and just two years after he had been playing Serie D football in Italy.
Cisse scored eight times in 31 league and European appearances for Académica last season, drawing many plaudits for his style of play, the ease with which he appeared to take the standard of play and his general ability as a target man. The goals came in bursts, grouped together, but helped his side towards important results as they finished just four points clear of the relegation zone during what was a stuttering season.
A resplendent finisher when given the chance, the Guinean comes alive in the penalty area. He can score with both feet and his head, making him a handful for the best of defenders. Possessing a tall, lean frame, Cisse proved with goals against Benfica and Atletico Madrid last season that he has the strength to compete at the highest level and the temperament to take crucial penalties.
To his credit, he works hard elsewhere – running the channels and committing defenders out wide; but he doesn’t have the passing skills to make an influence. In truth, he’s wasted if asked to do anything other than grab a goal.
Sadly, things have stalled after a strong first season. His arrival at Sporting was promptly followed by a loan agreement that saw Colombian Fredy Montero follow him into the squad a week later. Before pre-season had finished, he was already further down the pecking order that he would have liked and well out of contention.
2013/14 so far has seen Salim restricted to playing games for the Sporting B side instead of enjoying telling minutes with the first team.
Montero’s 11 goals in 11 league games so far this season suggest Cisse may have to wait a little longer for his debut in the league. Cisse needs to be playing first team football and getting first team chances rather than scoring for fun for the Sporting B team; even if they have been clear that they are planning for the future with his signing. It’s a step down in standard from last season and may not help him in the long term.
Cisse was named on the bench for the first two league matches of the season; but not utilized as a substitute in either game and we haven’t seen him in a first team squad since, not even for a cup match. From here, we’d normally consider that he’ll be unlikely to stay at Sporting if first-team chances don’t arrive by the time his first season with the club ends.
Having played regularly for Académica in 2012/13, we expect he is missing the standard of the league games and given that his management company released a highlight reel of their player this time last year, we’d be expecting another push on the video if Leonardo Jardim doesn’t start using a player he brought to the club in July.
However, a quick glance at the International Foot website suggests they represent a string of the Sporting Club de Portugal squad. It’d be cynical of us to suggest that with a high number of “stable mates” at the club, Cisse will see out the majority of his five year deal before moving on.
That may probably be the case and with Montero settling in for an extended run in European football it’ll probably be the thing that stops Salim from fulfilling his exciting potential. Or Sporting will be smart with his development, bring him into the squad towards the end of the season he’ll score some important goals that help them back into European competition. It won’t be the first or last time we have egg on our faces.
"Strong 2012/13 earned him a move to Sporting, where he's viewed as a prospect for the future rather than an automatic starter. He has been banging them in for the B team, but given the level of the Segunda Liga, that's not much of a surprise." - Ben Shave, Portugoal
"One of just two players under-21 to score five or more league goals in the Portuguese top flight last season." - Opta
D Can understand why he was lured in by Sporting but game time and shooting practice is crucial now