Whilst many probably expected Tottenham to stump up the cash for Wilfried Zaha on deadline day, Pochettino took the surprising decision to approve a club record £30million bid for Moussa Sissoko.
Sissoko had been pushing for a move away from relegated Newcastle all summer, but clubs had baulked at his £30million asking price. On the final day of the window though, Everton and Tottenham met Newcastle’s valuation. Sissoko then opted for Champions League Tottenham, despite Ronald Koeman reportedly expressing Everton’s interest first.
Sissoko’s arrival offers Mauricio Pochettino a different tool to utilise at White Hart Lane, with the midfielder capable of fulfilling the box-to-box role just as well as he operates as an industrious wide man, a quality that saw him feature more prominently for France in the latter stages of their Euro 2016 campaign this summer.
Sissoko’s ability to play centrally makes him a more attractive squad addition ahead of Zaha, especially when the Champions League games begin and Pochettino will need versatile players in his squad.
The one goal scored by the imposing figure of Sissoko leaves him trailing behind most competing against him for a first XI spot at Tottenham, but the seven assists registered in 37 league appearances for Newcastle does see him rank highly among his new potential teammates.
Despite playing predominantly out wide for Newcastle, Sissoko managed to make an impressive 46 tackles. It is his rare industry that Pochettino will look to try and drive out of him more frequently if he is to succeed at White Hart Lane.
Sissoko’s average pass accuracy is 76% – that is something that will have to improve at Tottenham, especially if he is deployed in a central role.
In all honesty, £30million is overpriced, no matter which way you look at it. With Sissoko playing for a relegated club and performing so inconsistently last season, it is a surprise to see not just Tottenham but Everton also willing to stump up such a high amount of cash.
But Pochettino obviously sees something in the Frenchman. He’s 27, not a kid anymore, but Pochettino needs to try and take the Frenchman to the next level. It is possible.
Why? Well we saw what Sissoko is capable of at Euro 2016, he is an incredibly powerful player, capable of bursting through the midfield and transitioning defence to attack by himself.
We also know what Pochettino is capable of doing wth underperforming players. Look at Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela before he arrived, many wanted those players gone, they were deemed lazy and not good enough – now, under Pochettino, they are reborn and important parts of the starting eleven.
There’s no doubt that to justify the price tag, Pochettino will have to do exactly that, give Sissoko new life. So to answer the question in the headline, it is simply that Tottenham must get the best out of Sissoko to warrant the investment.
How do you feel about the signing? Would you have preferred Zaha? Comment below.