Prior to Euro 2016 Newcastle were reported to be asking for somewhere in the region of £20m – £25m for Moussa Sissoko. The player appeared to put in a series of good performances on the European stage, resulting in the new quoted asking price being in the region of £35m. This has only served to inflate an already massive ego and the Frenchman has taken every opportunity he can to declare his love and desire to play for a more ‘exclusive’ club. So far he has linked himself to Manchester United, Paris St.Germain, Real Madrid, Arsenal and one or two other clubs – without a hint of a bid having been made. The question is, is he really as good as he likes to believe – and is his price tag realistic?
The talent of the likes David Silva, Eden Hazard, Mezut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey is not in question – that’s why they ply their trade amongst the ‘established’ top 4. For that reason, with the talent that surrounds those players, it is unfair at this time to directly compare Sissoko to those players. However, there are several attacking midfielders of note currently with sides outside the established Top 4 that appear ready to make the step up to the ‘Big Time’. Players like Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur, Phillipe Coutinho of Liverpool, Gini Wijnaldum and Gylfi Sigurdsson of Swansea. Wijanaldum has recently been snapped up by Liverpool for £25m, but all of these players have failed to attract the interest of the world’s elite sides. If Sissoko can out-point these players in a direct comparison, then it’s fair to say he is the legitimate ‘next in line’ to make the step up to a truly ‘exclusive’ side – earning Newcastle the exclusive fee that goes with that type of signing.
As usual the players will be directly compared against each other in a number of fields. 10 points for 1st place, 7 points for 2nd, 5 points for 3rd, 3 points for 4th and zero points for 5th. The totls then get added up and we see who contributes more throughout the season, All of these players ply their trade from a similar position and all played approximately 3,000 minutes in the EPL last season, with the exception of Coutinho, who carried a couple of injuries and played only 2,000 minutes. He will lose a few points because of that. I considered bringing his averages up, but decided not to because part of a player’s value surely has to be actually being available throughout the season.
How many times did these players gift the opposition possession? Coutinho only committed 9 fouls, Eriksen was 2nd with 13, 3rd goes to Wijnadulm with 16, Sigurdsson claims 4th with 25 and bringing up the rear is Sissoko with a staggering 50 fouls committed.
Who won the most free kicks for their side? Gini Wijnaldum takes 10 points with 51, 7 points for Sissoko with 30, 5 points for Coutinho with 29, 3 points for Sigurdsson with 23 and zero points for Eriksen with 17.
% won – Aerial Duels:
Who gives extra influence in the air? Surprisingly Sissoko tops the charts with 48.15%. Next up is Wijnaldum with 36.76%, in third place is Eriksen with 35.42%, in 4th place is Sigurdsson with 13.33% and in last is Coutinho with 11.54%.
Successful Take-On’s – percentages:
Zero points for Sissoko this time with only 46.67%. In 4th place is Eriksen with 53.03%, in third is Sigurdsson with 54.55%, 2nd for Coutinho with 59.76% and top spot for Wijnaldum on 60.24%.
Bottom of the pile for Sissoko with 76%. First place for Wijnadlum on 85%, joint 3rd for Sigurdsson and Coutinho on 79% and 2nd place for Eriksen with 82%.
This means goal scoring chances created for teammates. Wijnaldum only managed 43. Coutinho came in with 44, Sissoko chipped in with 49, Sigurdsson lined up 54 but Eriksen blew everybody out of the water with a mighty 101!
As you might expect, Eriksen tops the chart again with 13. Sissoko claims 2nd spot with 7, joint 3rd place goes to Wijnaldum and Coutinho with 5 and last place falls to Sigurssdon with only 2.
Total Shots on target:
Who is getting into the right positions and testing the goalkeeper? Bottom for this one is Sissoko with only 17 for the season. He is way, way below everybody else on this vital stat. Wijnaldum managed 38 to earn himself 3 points. 5 points for Coutinho with 49 shots on target. 2nd spot for Sigurdsson with 50 and first place for Eriksen, who tested the goalkeeper 55 times.
If you want to be considered a world class attacking midfielder, worthy of an exclusive club, then you need to show you can score a goal. Sissoko did just that last season. Literally. 1 goal. Eriksen takes 4th spot with 6. In third place is Coutinho with 8 goals, whilst Wijnaldum and Sigurdsson share the crown in this field with 11 goals each.
1st Place on 60 points: Gini Wijnaldum.
2nd Place on 55 points: Christian Eriksen.
3rd Place on 45 points: Phillipe Coutinho.
4th Place on 43 points: Gylfi Sigurdsson.
5th Place on 29 points: Moussa Sissoko.
I must admit, I’m shocked here. I knew Sissoko was not as good as he likes to think he is, but this is ridiculous! Sissoko is well adrift of the pack. On top of that, Wijnaldum absolutely battered him – and last season was Gini’s first in the Premier League. Sissoko does not score enough, is rubbish at taking players on (and having a positive outcome) and gives away way too many fouls. On the bright side, he can win a header and his assists record is not too bad. Is he an ‘exclusive’ player that deserves an ‘exclusive’ club? Is he heck.
Interestingly, trasnsfrmrkt.com valued Sissoko at a maximum of £12.75m when he was a Premier League player. Coutinho is valued at £29.75, Sigurdsson at £14.45m, Eriksen at £26.35and obviously Wijnaldum has just gone for £25m. I’d say that evaluation is about right for Sissoko, but if he’s in demand, then Newcastle are within their rights to demand a premium for his services. But 3 times his actual value? I don’t think so. If I were Real Madrid, PSG or Arsenal – I’d be looking to invest my 30 odd million pounds on a more capable player. More fool them if they let his big talk convince them he is some kind of special player – because the stats say otherwise.