One of the most hated/loved former Newcastle players of recent history, Moussa Sissoko, has not made any major news since he left the team for Tottenham at the end of the summer. He of course was the most expensive signing Spurs have ever made, costing about 30 million pounds. Since then, we have not heard much about him until recently when Didier Deschamps released his squad for France’s run of international play with friendlies against Paraguay and England, before they play Sweden for a world cup qualifier.
Deschamps released his 25 man roster that included the likes of Antoine Griezeman (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), and even our good old English Flop, Florian Thauvin (Newcastle/Marseille). There were a couple of head scratchers, but among the worst was of course the inclusion of Sissoko. This is the second time in the past couple of years Sissoko has been on Deschamps’ team sheet with much controversy. The first being of course last March in the middle of one of Sissoko’s least motivated and worst seasons as a Newcastle player, before leaving us for White Hart Lane
Him being called up is weird for two main reasons: he currently sucks, and it goes against every thing Deschamps has said he believes in when picking a team. Sissoko has started a whopping total of 8 games, and only 2 after the month of December. He has not impressed in any match he has played in with a season average match rating of 6.46, which is much less than impressive. Deschamps’ stated policy of only including players getting regular football, is one that gets murky when assigning Sissoko games. This of course is because he gets far from regular first team football with Spurs, which has led to him being primed for an exit to some big clubs.
Nonetheless the decision to include him in such an important string of matches for the French National team is a controversial one and French media outlets such as Get French Football News (GFFN) which called the move bizarre. They go on to say
“Chief among these [bizarre inclusions] is Moussa Sissoko, who has barely played for Tottenham since becoming their club-record signing last summer, and has been poor when he has featured.”
The truth of the matter is that it is unlikely that Sissoko even plays in these friendlies, because of the midfield France is sending and the 4-3-3 formation that they employ. The attackers Deschamps are all capable of playing multiple positions with many of them being able to play on either wing and as a CAM in addition to being a striker. With guys like Lacazette, Payet, and Mbappé all being able to drop back into the midfield if needed does not bode well for a guy like Sissoko who is not a great holding midfielder. Sissoko is clearly the least talented guy in the midfield with excellent holding midfielders like Kanté and Rabiot, and great two way midfielders like Pogba and Matuidi likely getting the majority of the minutes. Regardless, Deschamps made an odd move and even if Sissoko has no chance of playing, why not give another young attacker or defender a chance to make a name for themselves or for Pete’s sake let Benzema play again.
The full France squad can be found below
Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (PSG), Benoît Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
Defenders: Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Djibril Sidibé (AS Monaco), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Benjamin Mendy (AS Monaco)
Midfielders: Ngolo Kanté (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur), Adrien Rabiot (PSG), Corentin Tolisso (Lyon)
Attackers: Ousmane Dembélé (Borussia Dortmund), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Thomas Lemar (AS Monaco), Kylian Mbappé (AS Monaco), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Florian Thauvin (Newcastle/Marseille)