I guess I’ve given the game away in the title. If you are reading this in the hope of learning what some of the finest transfers in footballing history have been, you are very much in the wrong place. In true Tales style, we are going to spend the summer looking back over some of the “greatest” transfers of the season, and we thoroughly coated the word “greatest” in sarcasm. But of course, having noticed that the first man on our list is Moussa Sissoko, you will have worked that out for yourself.
Cast your mind back just over 12 months. Euro 2016 was about to get underway and the French football team were many people’s outside bet to lift the trophy. Most eyes were on this lad called Pogba who was believed to be on the way to Manchester for a world record fee. Others were interested in Griezmann, surely about to do the dirty on Atletico and join a far bigger side. Also lurking in the French squad was Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko, a player just relegated from the Premier League but, you’d imagine, pretty fresh for the tournament considering his complete lack of work ethic over the 2015/16 season.
Incredibly, by the end of the tournament, you would have been hard pushed to have known which one was the player linked to a £100m move to play for Jose. If you had just landed from Mars and seen Sissoko in action, you would have thought, understandably, that he was the finest footballing specimen on the planet. His work rate, skill, creativity, and desire were abundant and put Paul Pogba very much in the shade. Sissoko was, laughably, considered to be one of the players of the tournament.
Newcastle fans looked on with a mix of anger, given that he had barely ran 3k all season, let alone in a half, and hope due to the fact that each decent pass, each chance created, each moment of tracking back potentially added another club to the list of people gullible enough to maybe sign this fraud. Mike Ashley himself must have been grinning like a cockney Cheshire cat each time Moussa did something well as he could sniff a price tag on the increase.
But surely, in this day and age, scouts, managers, and directors of football do their homework? This isn’t 1996 where one beautiful chip gets you a move to Old Trafford. The analytics department must go back over a player’s previous, and if due diligence had been done then any prospective employer of Sissoko will have surely realised that he was a lazy good for nothing that only put in a decent show if the game was (a) on television and (b) not in London? Well, you’d think, wouldn’t you?
Transfer deadline day rocked around and two clubs were, hilariously, in a battle for the Frenchman’s signature and Rafa had the engine running ready to drive Sissoko wherever he needed to go. Benitez’s car wasn’t needed, however, as Ronald Koeman and Everton had laid on a helicopter, or possibly a private plane (I don’t recall the exact facts) that the wideman had agreed to get on and go and sign for the Toffees. Yet, somehow, Sissoko ended up in London signing on the dotted line for Tottenham Hotspur for £30m! Yes, this is the very same Spurs who have been doing many a good thing in the last two seasons, and as part of their attempt to push for the title once more felt that Moussa Sissoko might be the missing piece in the jigsaw.
Well, was he?
You have to do pretty well to be part of a team that beats the opposition 7-1 and get slated, yet Sissoko managed that in Tottenham’s May triumph over Hull City. The Spurs fans have not exactly warmed to guy, and that is putting it mildly. Equally, when Vincent Janssen is at the club, you have to be pretty terrible to be considered the worst signing of the season. It’s not been a good year for Moussa.
You would imagine his inability to get in the Spurs team would harm his international status, wouldn’t you?
Not a bit of it. Sissoko scored his first goal since leaving Newcastle last week, in a 5-0 win over Paraguay for France. The France manager, Deschamps, has suggested that if Moussa wants to play in the World Cup he might need to consider joining a club where he gets picked. That’s understandable, isn’t it? So you would be right to assume that there would be a small list of clubs, smaller than Tottenham, that might be prepared to gamble a small fee on seeing if they can rejuvenate the asset. Small clubs? That’s not where his agent is looking, I can tell you. With Deschamps’ words still ringing in his ears. Moussa’s agent has been on the phone to the Champions League holders Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan trying to broker a £40m deal. Yes, £40m. That takes some balls, that’s for sure. Not balls that Sissoko could probably control first time, but balls nonetheless.
More likely is a move to China, a country where Sissoko could probably earn more, run around less and ask Carlos Tevez for some tips on how to retire early.
Moussa Sissoko, I salute you. If you can manage to keep this charade going for another two years, you will be a legend forever to me.