Thursday, 24 January 2013


Who is he? Where does he play?

He's just another of the many Frenchmen Alan Pardew, Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias have covertly put into the back of a stolen FedEx van and smuggled all the way from across the channel as the Newcastle trio resort to desperate measures in order to save their wretched season. More specifically however, he is a 23 year old dynamic midfielder who has just signed for the Magpies from Toulouse.

He sounds very familiar?

Perhaps because you're thinking of ex-Liverpool midfielder Mohammed SISSOKO who is currently at PSG, or Mahamadou Sissoko who is a centre-back for Kilmarnock, or even Aly Cisshoko who is right-back at Valencia. In fact, if you tried hard enough, you can name a whole team with variants of Sissoko, but it's Toulouse's enforcer that the Newcastle board have chosen to slap a black bag over and bring to England, so let's focus on him.

So he's signed for Newcastle then?

Yeah, the abduction pretense was getting monotonous wasn't it, let alone slightly libelous, he becomes Newcastle's fifth import from Ligue 1 in this transfer window after Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mappou Yanga-Mbwia and Massaido Haidara all arrived in the north-east. He comes in for a reduced fee of £1.8 million after the pesky character managed to wind his contract down to the final 6 months. It is a fair climb down from the 30 million euro his president Oliver Serdran demanded to fend off the interest from the usual big clubs (you know the ones, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan etc.) back in 2009.

How's he play?

Newcastle's midfield already has a touch of continental quality about it with Cheikh Tiote and Yohann Cabaye running the "engine room", but Sissoko would add some "drive" and energy to the squad with his lung-busting box-to-box runs that have drawn comparisons to former monster-truck-alike Patrick Vieira. His strong concentration in midfield allows for some disciplined performances off-the-ball before bursting out his lungs and turning into a steam-train as he spreads his legs. He has also played out right and even centre-back for Toulouse.

Anything else to add?

Erm.... maybe.... erm.... well, he plays a bit for the French international team, that's significant right? He has represented Les Blues at all youth levels before being called up to the full squad by Raymond Domenech in 2009. A few sporadic call-ups since and he has earned 5 caps, with Didier Deschamps now also a fan of the powerhouse centre-midfielder. 

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