NEWCASTLE United were today locked in talks with Papiss Cisse in the hope that the striker will board the club flight to Portugal.
Cisse is unwilling to wear a Wonga-branded shirt on religious grounds.
The 28-year-old is understood to have offered to wear an unbranded jersey – or one bearing the logo of a charity. And talks are ongoing with Newcastle officials.
Manager Alan Pardew is hopeful that there can be a resolution in time for Cisse to board the club’s chartered flight to Portugal today.
However, if there isn’t a breakthrough, Cisse will stay behind on Tyneside.
Newcastle are playing two friendlies in Portugal, with Rio Ave first up on Saturday.
The Professional Footballers Association are understood to be involved in the discussions between Cisse and Newcastle, the outcome of which will set a precedent in the Premier League.
Cisse is a devout Muslim, and the Islamic faith forbids the lending of money for interest.
The Senegal international is yet to train with his team-mates, with the club’s training gear also bearing the logo of Wonga, a payday lending company.
Muslim striker Frederic Kanoute wore an unbranded shirt while playing for Sevilla, who had a gambling company as their main sponsor.
Pardew refused to comment on the situation after last night’s 4-2 friendly win over Motherwell at Fir Park last night.
Haris Vuckic, meanwhile told of his joy after making a goalscoring comeback after nine frustrating months on the sidelines.
The 20-year-old ruptured his cruciate ligament playing in reserve game last October.
And he took just eight minutes to get on the scoresheet.
“I’m very happy,” the Slovenia international said. “After nine months working hard and in the shadows, the gaffer gave me a chance.
“I’ve really worked hard in training. On the pitch, we played well and created a lot of chances.
“It was important that we won, and the goal was a bonus for me. Everything’s good – I’m happy!
“I was a little bit surprised that I was starting straight away, but in the summer holidays I was really working hard and pushing myself to get really fit.
“I wanted to get into the team.
“The gaffer gave me a chance, and the most important thing is to keep him happy.”