Not a week goes by where there’s not more proof the French league is improving.
Moussa Sissoko, the newest export courtesy of Toulouse, brings the added steel to Newcastle, while being very flatteringly compared to former Arsenal legend Patrick Viera. But what can Newcastle expect from their rangy new midfield dynamo?
Even from a young age, there has been interest in his talents from foreign clubs. Rumours of his prowess for France at youth international level meant scouts from both Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool were watching him before he had signed his first professional contract at Toulouse. However rather than jump straight into the limelight, Sissoko was willing to accept his role as a squad player, gaining experience where he could for both club and country.
…he will provide a presence that has arguably been lacking…
Originally deployed for as a holding midfielder shielding the back four, Sissoko has gradually moved forward into the more traditional box-to-box role, asserting his influence throughout the pitch. While not a typically prolific player, his goal scoring prowess has come to the fore with his brace against Chelsea, playing just behind Papiss Cisse. Fans probably shouldn’t expect him to replicate his finishing ability on a regular basis, but it’s never been one of his more prominent attributes.
The most vital improvement Sissoko can provide to Newcastle during this difficult period may not actually be his particular skills; rather his presence on the pitch. On the field, he will provide a presence that has arguably been lacking when either Yohan Cabaye or Cheik Tiote have been absent. Newcastle’s dazzling form last season rested upon goals courtesy of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse whilst Alan Pardew’s first XI were relatively free of injury troubles. It’s no coincidence therefore that Newcastle’s injury woes left them closer to the relegation zone than the top 4 and Sissoko, along with the other January signings, will support and provide cover for the strong side under construction at St James’ Park.
…could prove to be one of the finest signings…
At the price Newcastle paid for Moussa Sissoko, it could go down as one of Alan Pardew’s finest signings whilst in charge. An asset to any side challenging for the title, his signing proves the benefits of scouting emerging talents in the European leagues before they hit the big time. Sissoko could prove to be one of the finest signings Newcastle have had for a while.