It is always good to start the morning with a laugh and the first headline I saw the other day, 'Three Premier League Clubs Rival West Ham For Moussa Sissoko', provided that laugh.
Moussa Sissoko's profile is such that West Ham would be a disappointing destination for him, but it may be what he is forced into with Newcastle United demanding an unrealistic fee. The Hammers have no European football, which is essential if a player wants to remain in the French squad, according to the national manager, but they do have Premier League football at least. He may have got into the national team despite no European football. but playing Championship is an entirely different matter.
Players want Champions league football and it is easier to get that abroad on a regular than it is in the Premier League. Sissoko can have his choice of clubs after the European Championships, although the price Newcastle put on him is prohibitive. That has thus far given him no options, he is desperate to leave and complained in the French media about Newcastle
The article claims we are one of the clubs chasing him, although all we really have is a dodgy newspaper report saying we were going to offer Nabil Bentaleb as part payment. That was published on the day Bentaleb was in Germany having a medical to join Schalke with the clubs already having agreed a deal, which rather shows the article up for what it was, invention. If we offload some midfielders, then it's possible he could become the subject of a late swoop. If that hypothetical scenario were to be true then he would already know that.
The suggested other two WBA ad Crystal Palace equally have little to offer Sissoko but regular football and hope that will become his only option as the window closes. He would obviously prefer a move to Real Madrid have talked to his representatives, or PSG. Everton, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Inter Milan have all enquired but been put off by the price.
Sissoko wasn't in the Newcastle squad that faced Brighton on Saturday. He has been back in training 4 weeks and hasn't featured in a single Championship game. He doesn't want to play Championship football, it won't do his career any good, but Newcastle want to force him to. Yet another player versus cub stand-off.
He isn't a £35-million player, he hasn't been a stand-out Premier League performer at Newcastle, just a good one like so many others. The Newcastle Chronicle suggest a bid of £25-million may be enough to secure his services, that tells you all you need to know about his inflated valuation. It's a policy that works for Southampton when wealthy clubs come calling, you can't blame Newcastle for trying it on but common sense needs to prevail before the window shuts.
Benitez would love to keep him and tried to butter him up at the end of last season by giving him the captain's armband for the last eight games. Sissoko has meanwhile been insisting in every interview he has given that he wants to leave.
"In the transfer window, you have an idea - then you have players, agents and clubs. We have had clubs asking about Sissoko. But the offers have not been good enough, and so he is still here.
“We don’t know what will happen now, but if they come with the right offer, maybe we can say: ‘Yes.’
“If it is not the right offer, then maybe he has to stay here. We will definitely not consider a loan deal. We have had some bids, but they have not been big enough.”
"He is training well. He’s been a good professional. We are dealing with him, we are managing him and he has been training well.”