Moussa Sissoko has explained his reasons for joining Newcastle United.
The France international has long been regarded as one of the most promising midfield players in Europe, having developed through the youth ranks to earn a starring role in the first team at Toulouse. His time at the Stadium Municipal was always likely to come to an end this year, as entered the final six months of his contract.
A number of clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich had been linked with the 23-year-old in the past, but it was Newcastle who stole his signature for a bargain reported to be just £2million. Sissoko has made a blistering start to life in England, with three goals in six Premier League matches to his name already.
Heading to Tyneside meant the player linked up with several of his French compatriots, and this was thought to be the main reason he made the decision to join the St James Park club. But whilst this is sure to have played a factor, he has also revealed that he was impressed with the potential of the North East giants, who have starved their supporters of a major trophy since their European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup success way back in 1969.
“There is fantastic potential here with the quality of the players and that gave me the appetite to come here,” Sissoko, who stands at 6ft 2in, told the Daily Mirror. “The manager also showed me how much he wanted me to come here. The position was not ideal in the first half of the season, but as you can see, we are now playing better.”
Alan Pardew’s side were challenging for a top-four place last season, but it became evident early on in this campaign that a repeat of such a high would be unlikely this time round. Indeed, mutterings of a repeat of their relegation in 2009-10 looked a serious worry, and whilst this has not entirely been dismissed just yet, a run of four wins from their last six outings has lifted them nine points clear of danger.
As for finally adding silverware to their cabinet, the Magpies were humbled by Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup for a second successive season. However, they hope to reach the last eight of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, when they welcome Anzhi Makhachkala for their second leg tie, having held the Russian side to a goalless draw at the Luzhniki Stadium last week.