Newcastle United have pulled off a significant coup in signing Moussa Sissoko. Chief sports writer Mark Douglas charts how they did it - and speaks to the man who wants to be United’s answer to Patrick Vieira
MOUSSA Sissoko is the ‘Rolls Royce’ midfielder who can accelerate Newcastle United’s escape from the Premier League relegation fight.
That is the firmly-held belief of a United hierarchy who believe they might just have pulled off the best bit of business of the Mike Ashley era in nicking Sissoko – a player who welcomes comparisons to Patrick Vieira – for less than £2m.
It is remarkable business and a significant coup – with one influential observer from the across the Channel hailing him as a ‘Rolls Royce’ midfielder capable of making an immediate impact in the Premier League.
His capture has boss Alan Pardew and United’s busy recruitment team purring with delight, and at his first media engagement on Saturday morning, it is easy to see why.
Sissoko might not yet converse in English, but he still managed to come across well to the smattering of journalists who had heeded the early Press call. Confident, composed and answering queries with the sort of control that he has often shown on the field, he projected the kind of influence that might one day see him succeed Fabricio Coloccini as a Newcastle United captain.
No wonder United have offered him a six-and-a-half year deal. It was a long-term contract was sold to him on the idea that Newcastle can reassert themselves as regular challengers for the European slots – provided they get out of their current predicament.
“I think we can do well over the course of time,” he told The Journal.
“Obviously our priority and main objective at the moment is to get into a better position this season and to finish as high as we can. Looking ahead to next season and beyond, I think we need to try and finish as high as we possibly can.
“We should aim for qualification for the Europa League and even Champions League if we can. Why not try and go as far as possible in those competitions, too?
“In the long-term, I think Newcastle can become one of the best teams in England.
“I want to do that, that is why I came to England and it will be an exciting challenge for me to try and do this with Newcastle. I hope to add to this squad.”
Nothing illustrates United’s heavyweight status across the Channel quite as well as their pursuit of Sissoko, whose value was in eight figures less than six months ago.