£1.8m on Moussa Sissoko – the price of saving the season
Newcastle's latest recruit looks value for money
The price to save a season looked remarkably cheap on Saturday night, by which time Moussa Sissoko had made an early mark on the hearts of Newcastle supporters.
Alan Pardew called the powerful midfielder "a force of football". It was a nice soundbite from a manager trying hard not to find one. Keeping a lid on the wildly varying emotions of Tyneside is a job in itself, but his phrase hit the spot.
Sissoko was the player for whom owner Mike Ashley found £1.8m to sign six months early, Pardew revealed following a victory against Chelsea that spurred a city into life, for its bravery, for its endeavour, for its spirit.
Those are themes Newcastle fans warm to. They did on Saturday, when Sissoko was outstanding, and where fellow home debutant Yoan Gouffran's work-rate was exemplary. He cost £800,000.
Sissoko was supposed to be signed in the summer, when his contract at Toulouse would have run down, but Ashley was at the home defeat to Reading (he has not been a regular at St James's Park this season) and he saw enough then to realise the red lights were flashing for a squad that was on its knees. The deal was hurried up. Toulouse made nearly £2m they would not have if the transfer had not happened until the summer. Newcastle signed a player who was valued at £16m two years ago. They were privately delighted when he joined. On Saturday people saw why.
"I'm very happy, it was a brilliant afternoon for us," Sissoko said. "The public supported me 100 per cent all the way through. Each match I play in I try to give 100 per cent. I'm absolutely delighted with the support. I work hard. Today I was lucky enough to score two goals and the fans were absolutely brilliant with me but we can't forget it was a team performance. We all performed together and we wanted to come away with a victory, which we did.
"When I signed I knew full well the position Newcastle were in but I didn't have any fears. The first half of the season Newcastle had a lot of injury problems and they couldn't perhaps put out the full team they wanted to put out. In the second half of the season it's going to be very different, with the new signings bringing a boost to the team."
Latest in Sport
My one and only game for Neil Baldwin FC
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea deserve to be setting pace going into Christmas fixtures
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader