After an exceptionally move from Spurs, Moussa Sissoko today wakes up a Tottenham player. The Frenchman completed a £30 million move from Newcastle just before the deadline, before it was officially announced several minutes later. The Spurs fanbase remains immensely divided over the move, with their mixed views perhaps centring around what caused Daniel Levy to spend such a large amount of money on a player who was part of a relegated Newcastle side?
The move is so fascinating because Sissoko’s consistent footballing ability is not valued by anyone at £30 million, not even at 10pm on deadline day. What Sissoko does give however, is £30 million of extra value to Spurs. His signing means adept cover for midfield, it means power and pace, and if Pochettino can get him producing his best football, it means the North London outfit have a box-to-box midfielder that could rival Moussa Dembélé.
Any of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Eric Dier or the aforementioned Dembélé could be rested, and replaced with Sissoko, and there wouldn’t be a massive loss to the side. Where the alternatives were previously younger players – the relatively untested Josh Onomah, for example, Pochettino can now throw in an experienced physical presence into the side.
In short, it gives him depth for what he already has, and something slightly different, so perhaps the £30 million fee starts to be explained this way.
Sissoko also brings a strength and power to the front-line that Spurs lack at the current time. Both Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are dogged runners, but lack the brute strength of the Frenchman, who can terrorise defences with his physical dominance from wider positions. While playing wider may alienate him from some areas of the game – an issue that could be overcome by utilising him in a more central position – it would give Spurs yet another option from out wide.
With his offensive abilities, he could well play further forward without as much fear of repurcussion as at Newcastle. The defensive midfield pairing of Dier and Dembélé was watertight last season, so could well give Cissoko more license to roam against lesser teams. Of course, he would neeed to stay immensely disciplined in the games against bigger opposition, where his strength could be a major factor in winning the midfield battles.
Spurs fans will continue to be divided by the Frenchman until he puts in a string of top quality performances. With such a big price tag to live up to, Sissoko will need to start well to avoid the wrath of the Lilywhites’ fanbase.
Still, many remain optimistic that Pochettino; who reportedly told Daniel Levy to sign Cissoko ‘at any cost’, will get the best out of the enigmatic Frenchman, whose form at the Euros was mightily impressive. If Tottenham can get the best out of their new signing on a regular basis, £30m might not prove to be that much after all.
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