Toulouse FC’s Moussa Sissoko is a man on the verge of a life-changing move. Having made a significant impact in the south-west of France, the box-to-box midfielder has been recently scouted by two major clubs, Newcastle United and Russian giants Anzhi Makhachkala. With tabled bids expected in January, Sissoko has to make the decision of his life.
Having begun his professional career as an 18-year-old, it wasn’t long until he was given his first start which helped his side beat defending champions Lyon in 2007. With more impressive performances under his belt, he was partnered with a fellow exciting prospect in the shape of Étienne Capoue. As the two helped their side avoid relegation and move up the table, heads began to turn from clubs elsewhere.
Fast-forward five years later and the 23-year-old is one of the most sought after midfielders in the game. Having finally made a breakthrough in France’s national squad, Sissoko is looking to upgrade his talent by playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. And as Anzhi and Newcastle open the door for his arrival, it is up to the defensive midfielder to initiate his move.
But which club should he choose?
Premier League surprise package Newcastle United have been reaching for the stars in the past two seasons as they finished just outside the Champions League spot last year. Alan Pardew’s French revolution has seen big talents like Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye arrive at St James Park and with prolific strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé, Sissoko could prove to be the defensive rock in a team bursting with talent.
The only downside is whether the Toulouse man would make the starting line-up considering how good his similarly-positioned competitor Chieck Tioté has been playing. As the Ivorian already holds a place in the first eleven, it would be hard to put both defence-minded players in the middle of the pitch. However, with no adequate backup available to the Toon Army, rotating between Tioté and Sissoko does seem like a viable tactic.
On the other hand, since the takeover by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, Anzhi Makhachkala have gone from strength to strength as they signed Samuel Eto’o last season before appointing Guus Hiddink as head coach. Now with Eto’o earning more than any other player in the world it is safe to say Sissoko would be a very wealthy man if he was to move to Russia.
However, the competition for his place is incredibly congested as three other players contest in an equivalent position. Brazilian player Jucilei, Uzbekistani Odil Ahmdeov and French international Lassana Diarra all feature in Anzhi’s heavily-invested side, meaning Sissoko would have a real fight on his hands to get some playing time.
As tempting as a move to Hiddink’s side may be (for his bank account) Sissoko would appreciate a move to England as it can only do his reputation better. When Eto’o was at Barcelona and Inter Milan, his stock rose considerably than what it is now at Dynamo Stadium. At 23 years of age, Sissoko has enough time to add more to his game and by joining an elite league such as the English Premier League, the competitive nature of the opposition can only make him a better player.
Playing games on a regular basis is something every young player needs to be doing and if Alan Pardew and co can guarantee this to the Toulouse midfielder, his mind would be made up in a second. Time will tell which path Sissoko chooses but his next move will make or break his career. No pressure.886902