Rafa Benitez reacts to Moussa Sissoko’s ankle injury

Moussa Sissoko

Moussa Sissoko

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Rafa Benitez says time is running out for Moussa Sissoko to get a move away from Newcastle United.

Sissoko is out of tonight’s Championship home game against Reading with an ankle problem.

The message the other day was very clear about Moussa. Moussa is now the big name in the market – if someone wants Moussa, they have to pay.

Rafa Benitez

The midfielder, rated in the £35million-bracket by the club, wants to leave St James’s Park this month.

But Real Madrid have backed away from a move and Newcastle are yet to receive a bid for him.

Crystal Palace, Everton and Juventus have been linked with the 27-year-old, who was a finalist at Euro 2016 with host nation France.

For his part, Benitez insists he will be “really pleased” if Sissoko stays on Tyneside.

Benitez said: “Only the players that we want to allow to go will leave.

“The message the other day was very clear about Moussa. Moussa is now the big name in the market – if someone wants Moussa, they have to pay.

“If we are happy with the price, and he is happy, then we can maybe consider.

“But if we are not happy, then he can stay here and I will be really, really pleased to keep him.”

Asked if the club had had a firm bid for Sissoko, Benitez added: “We have had some movements around him.

“We know his agent is doing things, but the deal has to be right for everyone.”

Sissoko is yet to play for the club this season, having reported back to the club at the start of the month following his involvement at Euro 2016.

Benitez said: “He was in the five-a-side.

“He received a knock, and obviously we decided not to push him in a normal situation.

“In the most important game of the season, if he’s really the focus, maybe we can force him to play, but now it makes no sense. For now he has the injury, and then we have to take care of him.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Mohamed Diame, signed from Hull City this summer, will also miss the Reading game with an ankle problem.