Transfer Deadline Day: Lukewarm response to Sissoko at Tottenham

For all his perceived failings at Newcastle last term, Moussa Sissoko was brilliant for France at Euro 2016
For all his perceived failings at Newcastle last term, Moussa Sissoko was brilliant for France at Euro 2016

Michael Lintorn explores the negativity surrounding Moussa Sissoko's move to Tottenham, but also provides some positives...


"Tottenham at least now boast a depth and variety that was lacking last season, but is imperative with a Champions League campaign to juggle."

"Arsenal is the club of my heart." That's the oft-repeated Moussa Sissoko soundbite of windows past, including this most recent one, which is going to be relentlessly thrown in the direction of Tottenham fans after their side paid £30 million to bring him to White Hart Lane on deadline day.

Though the midfielder underperformed as Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League, he was rarely out of the headlines this summer, partly due to comments like those above and also because he excelled after emerging as a France Euro 2016 starter from the quarter-finals onwards.

The 27-year-old was linked with a succession of teams after Les Bleus' challenge was painfully ended by Portugal in extra time of the final, including Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter, but not so much his beloved Arsenal despite sending several subtlety-free clues Arsene Wenger's way.

However, come the final hours of the window, those foreign suitors had fallen silent, leaving the Frenchman with a choice between Tottenham and Everton and, for all his professed loyalty to the Gunners, Sissoko was seemingly swayed by the Champions League football Spurs are able to offer.

It isn't only the apparent Arsenal connection that has left many Lilywhites supporters feeling pretty sceptical about how good a signing the former Toulouse employee is.

There is a theory circulating that, athleticism aside, he doesn't possess the skillset or the attitude of a typical Mauricio Pochettino recruit; they are usually youthful, hungry and eager to impress.

Sissoko does have his own point to prove: that he is better and more dependable than his displays in 2015/16 indicated, and that he can deliver on a weekly or twice-weekly basis rather than when the spotlight is on or there is a wider audience to impress, yet should Spurs really have to pay £30 million for the privilege?

The other issue raised by such a price tag is that it kind of commands a starting place to vindicate the investment, and it isn't clear which one of 2015/16 starters Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane should step aside, before considering that Victor Wanyama, Georges-Kevin N'Koudou and Vincent Janssen have all been added to that equation.

Let's end with the positive, which is that Tottenham at least now boast a depth and variety that was lacking last season, but is imperative with a Champions League campaign to juggle.

And while it isn't immediately clear where Sissoko fits in and whether he has the personality to fulfil the requirements of a Pochettino midfielder and consistently shine, he has never had a stage like this to motivate him at club level before, and it could yet prove the making of him.

Spurs are a chunky 2.68/5 to finish in the top four, despite having three more points after three games (five) than they did when taking third place last term.

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