Connect in the back of the net

Moussa Sissoko is a household name amongst Arsenal supporters as he has been as regularly linked to the club as the likes of Yoann Gourcuff and Salomon Kalou over the years.

After two unimpressive seasons with Newcastle United, it is surprising how he is still linked with a move to Ashburton Grove, and even more so after the arrival of Granit Xhaka.

Despite the odd timing of this rumour, the player gloated over the club’s alleged interest when Foot Mercato (HT Gerard Brand of Sky Sports) quizzed him about a potential move.

“It is very flattering. Arsenal is one of the best European teams. To be watched by that sort of club, that proves that you are a quality player,” said the France international.

In spite of his love affair with the club he claims to have adored since the days of Sylvain Wiltord and Thierry Henry, the club should set fire to any thought of making him the second midfield signing of the summer.


Has he lived up to the St James’ Park faithful’s expectations?

Signed from Toulouse for £1.5 million, Sissoko got off to a fine start with the Magpies, notching an assist in his first game. However, since his debut, despite his undoubted prowess, fine performances have been far and few between, and he has proved a bust as he has been directly involved in a meagre 31 goals in 133 appearances for the club.

Despite being an unpopular figure, it is a truism that he was clearly one of the better players in a squad that largely underperformed. Starting all but one league game for the Toon Army, he topped Newcastle’s assists chart with eight assists though five of those came in two games: against Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur.

With the captain’s armband, he played much better as his first and the only goal of the 2015/16 season came in his first game as skipper against Swansea City.

He upped his game marginally under a more ambitious manager in Rafael Benitez. Towards the tail end of the last season, he was directly involved in four goals as Benitez’s men collected 12 points from a possible 18.

However, his revival was incomplete as his crossing and finishing left a lot to be desired, especially for a right-winger.


Will he fit in at Arsenal?

Arsenal currently have a wealth of options in the midfield, and by the looks of things, even highly-talented players such as Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, and Aaron Ramsey may be forced to watch more games from the bench than they would figure in.

In such a scenario, it is highly unlikely that a far less technical Sissoko could be in contention to get first-team minutes for Arsenal.

Even if the contentment that comes with finally playing for a Champions League club goads him to play the game of his life, it is unlikely that he will ever have what it takes to be a regular fixture in the Arsenal lineup as, at 26 years of age, he cannot improve his passing, composure, and decision-making ability in a drastic fashion.

Arsenal fans censure long-term servant Theo Walcott for running into defenders, and the Newcastle man has often been found guilty of the same over his Premier League career.

In addition, he is also in a similar situation as the Englishman as he is yet to discover what his best position is. Arsenal already have enough of that dilemma with Calum Chambers, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Jack Wilshere all unsure of their best position.


Boastful of his ability without regularly backing it up

On top of this, he bears the notion that he boasts enough quality to be snapped by Europe’s biggest clubs.

He is seemingly ignorant of the fact that the behemoths only scout players that showcase their potential every week and not the ones that are insanely good at convincing themselves that they are entitled.

Every footballer should be yearning for a chance to reach the top of the ladder, but Sissoko should also realise that he could never get to the top of it without a good first step.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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