Some will call Moussa Sissoko’s last second deadline day transfer to Spurs a Daniel Levy special. Some will question whether it makes sense to spend that kind of money on a temperamental midfielder who always seemed to have his best games against Tottenham. Some will question whether Sissoko fits into Mauricio Pochettino’s younger and very motivated team. All of those are valid questions to ask about what seems to be the most intriguing deadline day signing of them all.
With transfer guru Paul Mitchell heading out the Spurs Lodge exit door (despite the signing of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, a player he championed), many wondered who was calling the shots at Tottenham in regards to transfers.
Despite what past experiences would tell you, this Sissoko signing made by Pochettino knowing exactly what he needed for his squad coming out of three less than stellar Premier League games. Spurs lacked dynamism and directness on the wings, and a bit of pace as well. Sissoko should, in theory, provide that when he is at his best. Understandably, it was hard for Sissoko to reach his peak form at Newcastle with the instability in the dugout and on the pitch, but if he’s ever going to reach the potential that has flashed at St. James Park and for France, Pochettino and Spurs are the best at possibly dragging that out of him.
Sissoko will certainly not want to hear that he won’t be first choice for Spurs, but making this move he undoubtedly understood that. At least for most Premier League games, he’ll be an impact sub that Pochettino can use to change a game when Spurs are looking stale, especially out wide. And there’s no doubt that with a full slate of UEFA Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup games to come, as well as the inevitable drag of injuries, Sissoko will be afforded every chance to snatch a starting role. Pochettino is the type of manager that will give players chances to earn jobs, and Sissoko will have to do just that to break into a Spurs XI that is about as good as it gets in the Premier League as of now.
Sissoko should take the experiences of Moussa Dembele under Pochettino, and take great excitement from them. Dembele was a bit of a misfit before Pochettino arrived at Tottenham, and even for almost a season after. But Dembele was transformed into a dynamite box-to-box midfielder with his unparalleled dribbling skills and strength on the ball, and has become one of the most important players at the club. Dembele just needed a manager to see the talent in him and harness it properly, and in many ways Sissoko is quite similar. He never had a settled position at St. James Park, and therefore his form was always hit and miss. But those flashes of brilliance always turned out to be fleeting, which frustrated so many who know what Sissoko could become.
Mauricio Pochettino has turned around the fortunes of Danny Rose, Moussa Dembele, Erik Lamela and others at the Lane, and all of those players once drew the ire of supporters for their inconsistencies but have now become entrenched starters and some of the best in England at their positions. Moussa Sissoko could easily be the next in line, but he and his new supporters must have patience with a player, much like the three mentioned above, that has the talent and all of the ingredients to become very successful, but needs the time and the patience to put it all together. If there is any manager in England that can mold the inconsistent but supremely talented player into a force, it’s Pochettino.
Could Spurs have spent 30 million pounds better earlier in the transfer window? Sure. Does Sissoko upgrade depth and quality at positions in the Spurs squad that desperately needed it? Absolutely. For whatever the prevailing opinion is on Sissoko, he is the type of player a team signs when they feel they are closer to becoming complete than ever before, and whether this was a Pochettino influenced signing or not, the signing itself shows a confidence in the squad and where Spurs can go now that they have that final piece to the puzzle.
Moussa Sissoko, despite all of his contradictions as Premier League player, could be just the piece that Spurs needed to push on from last season at home and abroad. Whether there was better available is almost beside the point now. Daniel Levy and Tottenham made a massive statement signing Moussa Sissoko. Now his new manager and player have work to do to prove what so many inside Spurs Lodge believe is true: that they are a contender at home and abroad.
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