Newcastle United will slap a £20million price tag on Moussa Sissoko after he revealed he wants to quit the club.
Toon boss Rafa Benitez has been assured by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley that he won’t be forced into selling any of his major stars – only the ones that he feels it would be better if they weren’t at the club next season.
To that end, he may feel it’s best to cash in on Sissoko. The enigmatic Frenchman can look a world beater one day and uninterested the next – with two many of the latter performances littering his United career.
However, Benitez is a big fan of the midfielder, and promoted him to captain at the end of the season, gave him a central attacking role and was rewarded with some of the 26-year-old’s best performances in years.
Sissoko, however, has revealed he wants to quit Newcastle – but the Magpies won’t let him leave on the cheap, despite suffering financially from relegation.
Sissoko said: “It is flattering that a coach like him, a great coach, wants to keep me. But I think that he is aware I have reached a level where playing in the Championship would be difficult for me.
“As I want to stay in the French national team I cannot stay in the Championship. There will be discussions. I hope that they go in the right direction. I want to leave.”
Given the mega money flooding into the Premier League next season through a £5billion TV deal, Newcastle would demand a fee of around £20million for Sissoko, who they signed for just £2million in January 2013, Arsenal are among the teams strongly linked with the player, who admitted the Gunners are ‘the club of my heart’.
“Arsenal is one of the best European teams,” he added. “I hope that I will have the chance, soon, to play for this club or for a similar club.
“For the moment, I am focused on the French national team and the Euros. I have advisors who are dealing with all of that and I hope that things will go well with as little difficulty as possible for me to find another club.”
Benitez will demand face to face talks with Sissoko after Euro 16, with reports claiming the United manager met Andros Townsend on Monday to persuade the winger to stay on Tyneside next season.