What Can Seydou Doumbia Bring to Newcastle United?

With much of Newcastle United’s transfer deadline day drama centring around the saga that was Saido Berahino, it is easy to forget that the club signed a potential coup on a six-month loan deal, with a view to a permanent move. That man is Ivorian international striker, Seydou Doumbia.
Fans have been crying out for United to delve into the striker market during the winter transfer window, and it was on the final day that a deal was confirmed for the former AS Roma man. Doumbia emerged as a somewhat surprise candidate to arrive on Tyneside, yet the move has been met with both optimism and nervous anticipation by supporters.

Seydou Doumbia has had a somewhat journeyman-like career, beginning in his native Ivory Coast, before jetting off to the peculiar destination of the Japanese 2nd Division where he made an impression that attracted the attention of Swiss Super League side BSC Young Boys. 57 goals and two seasons later, Doumbia was on the move yet again, this time to Moscow to sign for CSKA, arguably Russia’s biggest club. The Ivorian’s prolific goalscoring form continued despite the wintry conditions of the Russian Premier League, netting 84 times in 129 appearances in all competitions. His obvious goalscoring exploits meant that interest from one of Europe’s biggest clubs, AS Roma of Italy’s Serie A came knocking, parting with a cool ¬£11m for his services.

However, a disappointing second half of 2014-15 saw Doumbia score just twice during his 14 appearances in a Roma shirt, and therefore soon to follow was a loan back to the club that sold him, CSKA Moscow. This season for CSKA, Doumbia has continued his fine goalscoring record of the past, averaging a goal every other game, a record that could potentially boost Newcastle United up the Premier League table if he can replicate that form.

One of the concerns raised by the United faithful is that Doumbia is yet to cut it at the highest level, struggling in Serie A which is widely regarded as a largely inferior league to the Premier League, yet the Ivorian’s record in European Cup competitions is something that only few others can boast. His 23 goals in 29 European games is nothing short of superb considering only three players have a better minutes per goal ratio¬†than the 28-year old in the UEFA Champions League. Those players are Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. To put that into perspective, Doumbia scores a Champions League goal every 124 minutes, better than Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez. Newcastle could very well have landed a fine coup.

Goalscoring is one of Doumbia’s obvious talents; another of which is his pace, renowned by avid fans of computer games Football Manager and EA Sports’ FIFA Franchise. The striker possesses the ability to burst past a defender and make imposing runs onto onrushing goalkeepers. Most aptly described as a poacher and a striker quick to react, Doumbia’s best qualities will be exploited in and around the penalty area.
Quick feet, excellent balance and an eye for goal are Doumbia’s main attributes, but the Ivorian can also dribble and finish with a powerful strike. Newcastle fans may come to liken him to Obafemi Martins, as their style of play is comparably¬†explosive and powerful. He is not known for his heading ability but standing at close to six feet tall, should a lofted ball in from the wings find the head of Doumbia, it won’t be easy to outmuscle him.

Newcastle fans and board members are hopeful that the signings of the January transfer window can prove to be the turning point in the season, with the addition of Doumbia ideally the catalyst to help United score more goals and retain their Premier League status next season. The squad they now possess is awash with talent, power and individual flair and on paper should have little problem staying in the league, however only time will tell if the transfer window has been a success or a failure.

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