By 90Min
February 01, 2018

Sometimes, on rare occasions, a transfer signing can be so exciting that it brings a complete new buzz to a stadium. 

I was 13-years-old when Edgar Davids arrived at Spurs, and I remember being positively thrilled about the prospect of seeing the Dutch legend in a Tottenham shirt (and the glee I felt when one of the first things he did was send Ray Parlour flying just minutes into his debut against Middlesbrough).


Other times a signing may not be so glamorous as an ex-Barcelona and Juventus goggle-wearing superstar, but you know it is something that the team needs. 

Take the likes of Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier. Neither of these signings exactly got the hearts racing, but they started as solid, dependable backups for Danny Rose and Kyle Walker and now regularly feature in the first team.

Finally, your team sometimes signs a player where your immediate reaction is simply one of… What? Why? 

Enter Moussa Sissoko.

Sissoko was signed on transfer deadline day in August 2016, for a then club-record fee of £30m. 

For the notoriously money careful Daniel Levy this was a lot to spend, and yet Sissoko’s arrival was met with a distinctly ‘meh’ reaction from the Spurs faithful, coupled even more worryingly with Newcastle fans who, far from bemoaning his loss, seemed positively delighted they could get so much money for the Frenchman. 

The rumours that he was a big Arsenal fan did not exactly endear him straight away to Spurs fans, either.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Since then, he has made 45 appearances in total for the club. Now genuinely, hand on heart, I can't think of even one really good performance he has put in. 

I’m not talking about ‘putting a shift in’, or those times when he has come on for the last 10 minutes to help grind out a narrow win, but a match where he has really taken the game by the scruff of the neck and shone for 90 minutes.

I think part of the problem is that, even a year and a half after his signing, I still don’t understand what is supposed to be his best position. Fans like to have a clear idea what a player contributes to the team; we all know Kane is the goalscorer, Eriksen the creator, Vertonghen the ball-playing rock at the back, etc etc. 

Wikipedia states: "Sissoko plays as a box-to-box midfielder, and is capable of playing in either a holding midfield role, or even as an attacking midfielder or right winger." Jack of all trades? Master of nothing, if you ask me.

Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

A moment which sums up Sissoko came against Southampton. At 1-1, Spurs were pushing for a winner when late in the game he received the ball wide in the box and cut inside. I was urging him to shoot, but instead he played it square to Lamela, who was crowded out by defenders and whose shot was blocked. 

Why didn’t Sissoko have the confidence to have a go himself? It may have been a wide angle, but the shot could at the very least have been deflected back out for one of our players to put back into the box. It was as though he couldn’t wait to get rid of the ball at the earliest opportunity, something which is commonly seen in his game.


And yet somehow, Pochettino still seems to rate him very highly. This is the manager who, as far as I’m concerned, is like a god to the club, someone who has constantly got the best out of players and made the team a real force, both domestically and in Europe. 

Who am I to argue with the man? And yet this is the one topic where I just cannot fathom what our cuddly Argentinian is doing. Sissoko has featured in all but one of Tottenham's Premier League games this season, and was even recently called one of our most important players by Poch. 

Maybe great Sissoko performances are just around the corner, and if he goes on to score the winner in the north London derby before bossing Juventus in Turin then I will happily admit defeat and go out and buy a brand new ‘Sissoko 17’ shirt, which I will wear to every game. But I can’t see it.

I guess that’s all part of football. Sometimes, no matter how great the manager is, there are things they do which you simply can’t understand. I sincerely doubt Sissoko will ever be remembered as a Spurs great, nor will he be a hero to kids growing up in the same way that Kane and Alli are. Nevertheless, he is here, he is playing on a regular basis, and I guess all we can do is support him. “Whooooa Mou-ssa Siss-" no, I just can’t.

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