With the signings of Albert Adomah and David James done, it would be easy to forget that former Reading man Steve Coppell pinched versatile centre midfielder Kalifa Cissé from his old club.
Kalifa was born in France in 1984, which gave him the option of choosing to represent France internationally. However, Cissé took the option of playing for Mali and first represented them in the 2003 Fifa World Youth Championships. He won his first full international cap in 2008.
After starting his club career at Estoril, a small Portuguese club, he moved to Boavista. Mainly used as a centre back and played against the likes of Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, the player was able to hold his own against some good attacking forces, which ultimately made him an attractive prospect to then Reading boss Steve Coppell.
He moved to the Royals in 2007 for a fee of €1 million. Cissé enjoyed a successful time at Reading scoring 7 times in 75 appearances, some of which were in the Premier League, scoring when it mattered for Reading to became a key part of the team.
Following Reading’s relegation to the Championship, Kalifa began to find appearances few and far between under new management, and with the excelling of youngster Gylfi Sigurdsson he was pushed further away from a starting place, prompting the move to Bristol City.
Having caught a few games at the Madejski stadium due to my own location, I've seen the player first hand, and think the Robins can be excited by the signing. He came in as a replacement for Steve Sidwell, a key part of Reading’s midfield, who they lost him to Chelsea.
With big shoes to fill, he performed well in the Premier League and looked like he could be the man to fill this position long term. His versatility came into play when injuries at the back forced Coppell to play Cissé in the heart of defence, and he was more than up to it.
He could never hold a consistently strong starting place in the Reading team towards the end of his career, which he found difficult, and some Royals fans would be happy to wave Kalifa Cissé goodbye as he was never a serious 'stand out' player. From what I saw though, he served Reading well.
Last season he found himself far down the midfield pecking order, and still on Premier League wages, which made him surplus to requirements.
This presented Coppell with the perfect opportunity to capture his man. Steve is a clever man, as has been shown with signings for previous clubs, producing the likes of Ian Wright, Kevin Doyle and Alan Pardew.
Now Kalifa Cissé has been given the opportunity for a fresh start, and a chance to reach his full potential.
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