The Monday Profile: Kalifa Cissé
During his time at Reading, Steve Coppell rarely missed an opportunity to reunite with former charges and his signing of Kalifa Cissé for Bristol City was predicted on these pages on the manager’s arrival at Ashton Gate in the Spring.
A third occasion perhaps evidences why the Robins have taken this plunge. Royals’ more pragmatic style of their first post-relegation season suited Cissé’s rangy style and he crowned a dominant afternoon at Ashton Gate with a rising drive into the roof of the net; Reading winning 4-1. At his best, the Mali man can break up the play effectively and with a World Cup hallmarked by dual defensive screeners, his destructive style as well as his versatility may be in vogue.
Too often in his time at the club however, the directing of the ball’s traffic flow through Cissé would result in a bottleneck. At best, his lumbering style and telegraphed passing would slow the sweep of a move; at best, possession would be lost altogether, as if a lining of lead had been inserted into his toecaps. The ex-Boavista and Estoril man lacks the finesse to play the holding role properly – one should remember that even the likes of van Bommel and de Jong are tidy passers. The move may signal a switch away from Bristol City’s pleasing style of the past half decade and a toughening up of a side that has looked powder puff on occasion, but Reading will not be too sorry to see him go.