One of the many challenges that faced Steve McClaren when he came on board in June was to keep his best players on Tyneside, and they included Moussa Sissoko.
The 25 year-old was like a lot of the Newcastle players and had a very poor second half of the season, when a number of them seemed to get frustrated at their poor form and terrible results under interim coach John Carver.
Moussa Sissoko in action at Portland
Moussa has often talked to the French media about wanting to join a club that plays Champions League football, and it was thought that some top clubs like Liverpool or Manchester City could come in for him this summer.
There have been no bids received for him so far, and Steve McClaren made it very clear about his views on Moussa when he had this to say to BBC Radio Newcastle on Tuesday night:
“We can’t lose Moussa, I know there’s a lot of interest but he’s under contract,” “On my first day he walked into my office, I thought what a specimen of a man.” “He’s a player I admired a lot last season.”
“He’s big and strong and has an absolute presence.” “He’s got a great manner about him and very professional and low maintenance.”
“He loves it here and just wants to play. I’ve said to Lee Charnley ‘we’ve got to keep this guy’. I know there’s a lot of interest, as with all good players, but he’s under contract.”
“I want him to be the main focus of our team.”
The 28 times capped France international was signed from Toulouse in January of 2013, for a low £2M with him having only six months of his contract left at the French club.
Moussa is hoping for better things under new head coach Steve McClaren, and he had this to say in the Shields Gazette today:
“I know the club want me to stay, and this year they will bring in some players.”
“We have a good team so we can do something good – better than last year, because the last six months of last year was very poor.
“I hope we can have a better season.”
The Newcastle fans hope we have a better season too, because earlier this year was simply unacceptable and an absolute nightmare for the club.
It would be a surprise if Sissoko was not with us come September, but we keep reading news that Liverpool and Manchester City both want to sign him.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but there’s no doubt Moussa is a very important player at Newcastle at the moment.