Cheikh N’Doye has become somewhat of a cult figure at the club. His lack of grace on the ball and his poor passing range haven’t stopped him from being liked by many among the fanbase.
He arrived last summer after having built a reputation in France as a solid pro, helping Angers keep their status in the top flight for two consecutive seasons.
The midfielder’s performances had also caught the eye of one Aliou Cisse who gave him a number of caps for Senegal. When we signed him in the summer, it did look like a decent free transfer.
An international, who had played in Ligue One, it didn’t seem like a bad deal at all. That was only until we saw him play. His inability to cope when in possession due to the higher pace of the Championship was clear to see.
Some of his successful passes were greeted by ironic cheers, and it’s fair to say that some would have happily driven him back to France. However, his character always shone through. He never hid despite the criticism, and as the season wore on, he showed glimpses as to why we signed him in the first place.
Especially in some of his outings under Garry Monk, you could see he was able to play a screening role in front of a backline in a 4-4-2. Yet, with so many similar players on the books who can play as a holding midfielder, it doesn’t seem that his stay at St Andrews will be a long one.
With his wages also a factor, there is a possibility he will be sold this summer. Reports from France indicate his old club Angers may look to re-sign the Senegalese midfielder if they can’t keep Prince Oniangue at the club.
If he does depart to France, I will be left with some fond memories of the player at least. He always showed 100% commitment, and that goes a long way. Being the first Blues player to be called up for the World Cup since Stan Lazaridis will also guarantee him a place in the club’s record books if nothing else!
With what Garry Monk is building here though, there is no room for sentiment. We need better players than N’Doye to ensure we are nowhere near the relegation places next season.