Tottenham Hotspur signed Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle United for a fee of £30 million on transfer deadline day in the summer of 2016 – a transaction that raised some eyebrows at the time.
Whilst Sissoko had been a key player for the Magpies, and was a regular feature for the French national team, many questioned his ability to become a first team regular at White Hart Lane. Such suspicions were proved correct as Sissoko endured a difficult first campaign in the North London.
By the end of his first term with Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, Sissoko had amassed just eight league starts and only contributed three assists, having failed to find the back of the net himself all season.
Things improved little in his second season, though he did manage 47 appearances in all competitions and scored his first two goals for the club. However, at this stage, considering the hefty price tag Sissoko’s signature had commanded, the midfielder has to be considered a major transfer flop and cuts an unpopular figure amongst Spurs fans.
Sissoko made his fourth appearance of the new season for Spurs when he started against West Ham United at the London Stadium this weekend. The 29-year-old’s dominating midfield performance – coming at a time when his team are having problems in the middle of the park – will have given Pochettino plenty to think about going forward and may even prove to be the turning point in the former Newcastle man’s Tottenham career.
With Victor Wanyama injured and the out-of-form Mousa Dembele given a rest on the bench, Sissoko was drafted into the starting line up to face the Hammers. The Frenchman was sensational in his central role and his deft chipped cross set up Erik Lamela to nod in the winning goal.
Aside from his assist, Sissoko was a continual source of energy and drive for his side. He completed four dribbles against the Irons, with no other player on the pitch registering more successful take-ons. He also managed a single shot on goal.
Sissoko’s distribution was equally impressive, as he recorded a pass accuracy rating of 94.4% – the best of any Spurs player. This rating constituted 54 completed passes, including an accurate long ball and one key pass.
The 6’2” man imposed himself on the game, evidenced by the fact he made 75 touches. Most impressive, though, is how efficient and aggressive he was with those touches. It was an all-action display from Sissoko, coming at a time when many considered him incapable of making such an impact for Spurs.
If Sissoko can kick on from here then there may be some life left in his Tottenham career yet.