Mauricio Pochettino Admits Lack of Interest Kept Moussa Sissoko at Tottenham

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2017

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13:  Tottenham Hotspur Manager / Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino substitutes Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James' Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday that Moussa Sissoko is only at the club due to a lack of interest from other teams in the summer. 

The Frenchman joined Spurs in 2016 and struggled to make any impact, prompting speculation he may be on the move. He remained at the club for the 2017-18 campaign, though Pochettino has said the player wanted out and that he would have been sold had more concrete interest emerged.

"The player was the first [to be] interested to move or to leave because he wanted to play more in a season that has the World Cup at the end," Pochettino said, per David Hytner of the Guardian. "But I think maybe that possibility didn't exist and I was more than happy for him to stay and to give him the possibility to play."

Tottenham Hotspur's Argentine Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino watches during the UEFA Champions League football match between Apoel FC and Tottenham Hotspur at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia on September 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit s
JACK GUEZ/Getty Images

As sportswriter Paul Gibson noted, the Tottenham manager's stance on the player is an interesting tactic:

While last term was one to forget for the ex-Newcastle United man, Sissoko has showcased plenty of encouraging signs during his second season.

Pochettino has used the 28-year-old in central midfield in the absence of the injured Mousa Dembele. The France international has utilised his strength and speed to great effect, while his energy levels remain high throughout games.

The manager also suggested Sissoko needed some time to settle into life in north London. 

"When we signed him, it was a record for the club, and the expectations from the fans, the press, everyone is massive," he added. "... Even [Zinedine] Zidane struggled at Real Madrid when he first moved from Juventus."

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium on September 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

As Goal's Harry Sherlock noted, the Frenchman often undoes brilliant work with lapses in concentration:

Given he's combative, hardworking and versatile in where he can be utilised, there's potential for Sissoko to become a useful squad member for Spurs.

Tottenham don't boast as deep a squad as some of the Premier League's other elite sides, and rotation will be key. Given Pochettino's sides operate at a high intensity, there will be a lot of tired legs at the end of the season, especially if Spurs go far in a variety of competitions.

Sissoko could be useful over the course of the campaign as a result. And though it's unlikely he will ever become a key first-team player with the capital club, Pochettino may well be glad the midfielder ended up sticking around for 2017-18.