Like many of you I wanted rid of Moussa Sissoko at the earliest opportunity. The obvious negativity around him, just permeates everywhere he goes.
At no point over the course of last season did he show any real grit and determination for the club, the last four or so performances he put in, weren’t for the fans, they weren’t for the shirt or the club, they were for his own benefit, it was a necessity. He wanted to show Arsenal what they were missing. He wanted to prove just how good he is to all those ‘great clubs’ he talked about so openly throughout the season.
To me, whichever club he ended up at were welcome to him, the fact that Spurs got him just made it that little bit sweeter. Why?…because I can’t wait for the first time he touches a ball and gets booed by his OWN fans because of his ‘Love’ for Arsenal comments. It is guaranteed to happen and I can’t wait to see it.
Taking away my own personal dislike about the guy, let’s look at the facts. Over the course of his time at Newcastle, he managed 11 goals and 18 assists. Since he joined us on 21 Jan 2013, he had a hand in 29 goals. That’s it. 29 goals. Some people would see that as a good return on what we paid for him, those 29 goals for £1.5million isn’t bad really. A few good performances at the beginning….and then nothing. The fact that we got 30 million quid for the guy is absolutely astonishing when you look at his stats and background to his attitude.
Which leads me on to the real purpose behind this piece.
From the moment I opened up The Mag this morning, reading through the comments, I’m absolutely astounded at the mentality of some individuals: ‘no re-investment’, ‘FCB pockets the cash’, ‘only spent what we brought in’ etc etc.
The sooner the great fans of this club get over the Mike Ashley hatred, the better it will be for everyone. The past is the past, and whilst I am certainly no Ashley fan, I refuse to continue hating on a guy that appears, openly, to be changing his ways.
Is he still trying to make money out of the club? Of course he is but football is a business nowadays. The notion that billionaires buy football clubs for sentimental reasons is as far away from reality as Sissoko deserving a place at the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona (which he honestly believes he does).
Mike Ashley has clearly given Rafa the keys to the house. Rafa has chosen who to let go, who to bring in, Rafa valued Sissoko and he stood firm on that valuation, because he knows that 30 million in the bank is going to do wonders for us in the future.
The reason it hasn’t been spent yet is not a reflection of Ashley or Penfold, in actual fact it is down to Rafa. I imagine that if there was any room for negotiation on the fee, Sissoko would have went weeks ago, but Rafa knew what he wanted, and wouldn’t budge. He got the keys out of his pocket, walked through the front door and demanded it his way.
He knows what we need to bounce back up and he has moved the pieces around the chessboard to perfection throughout his short time here so far. The only reason he has been able to do that is because Mike Ashley gave him the keys.
Whether or not the change in Ashley’s direction was forced or not, whether it’s panic or an attempt to protect his asset, is irrelevant. The change is happening regardless. He has relinquished his control to a man who knows what he is doing, and more. The fact that we recouped more cash than we spent is a piece of brilliant borne from the genius of one man, and that is Rafa, the man who Ashley gave control to.
Should we be wary of Mike Ashley? Of course we should.
Whilst Rafa has the keys, Ashley most definitely still has a spare set rattling around his Sports Direct desk, and can let himself back in at any time if he wants, but whilst he is away, doing things the right way, we should all give the guy some slack.
Loosen the noose and give him a bit of rope back. If he hangs himself, well then he’s an idiot, but from my perspective, he’s a man doing everything he can to get off the hangman’s block.
If it benefits the fans, let’s not complain.