When Hughie Gallagher was transferred from Newcastle to Chelsea, the great striker reportedly complained:
“I have been sold like a slave for a bag of gold.”
That quote is a far cry from anything Moussa Sissoko is likely to say when he inevitably, finally leaves the club.
In an era where the sportsman is the king of his own destiny, the fact that the Frenchman has not already forced through his departure this summer is more than a bit perplexing, not least because most fans want him gone anyway.
Whereas sensible business has been done to offload other high wage earners on either a loan or permanent basis in recent weeks, Sissoko’s situation remains frustratingly unresolved.
If Gallagher’s generation were (football) slaves, then the modern age is one where footballers can act like eighteenth-century courtesans, flirting their way between ever-more generous benefactors. Time and again, in cases such as Demba Ba or Yohan Cabaye, fans have seen machinations that contributed to star individuals leaving St James Park on their own terms.
Obviously, Moussa Sissoko shows no interest in committing to any part of our campaign in the second tier. So, if this is truly the age of player power, why has he not already made his escape?
Perhaps both agent and player are deterred as of yet by the current ilk of contenders for his signature. Despite his past pretensions of hoping to be captured by a Champions League club, only offers from clod-hoppers like Tony Pulis’ West Brom appear to have been forthcoming so far.
It is certainly not a glamorous destination but the midfielder has done nothing in the past two years (except a few bursts in the European Championship) to suggest he can play at the top level, or even demand a £15million offer, never mind the claimed £35m price tag.
Of course, any number of sides could be stupid or desperate enough to fork out that kind of money – but Newcastle are playing a dangerous game if they are negotiating towards that sort of figure. After all, most fans would trade Moussa Sissoko for a packet of Quavers and a bottle of Panda Pop.
If the hard bargaining doesn’t work, Rafa could be left with a negative influence in the dressing room and a wage bill that is unsustainable for our new dwellings.
Whatever is the case behind the scenes, this problem needs to be fixed quickly. Sissoko’s shameful unprofessionalism should not be allowed to linger.