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Rumour Mongering: Chelsea Battle Liverpool for Relegated Midfielder

Reports in France claim Liverpool and Chelsea are interested in Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko, but for the price they’re asking things aren’t likely to past the interest stage.

Liverpool v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

According to L’Equipe, Liverpool and Chelsea have both reached out to Newcastle to judge the willingness of the relegated English club to sell 26-year-old midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who is currently representing France at Euro 2016. If true, the two Premier League sides would join Hamburg as suitors for Sissoko after the German club made a £9.5M offer for him earlier in the month.

Sissoko is believed to be eager to leave Newcastle following the club’s relegation, but with his contract running through 2019, the club feel they don’t need to sell the French international on the cheap. They have reportedly rejected Hamburg’s offer out of hand and are holding out for at least twice that amount if they are to consider selling Sissoko, who managed just one goal and eight assists last season.

The talented player struggled to consistently influence games for Newcastle, and his failure to deliver on the scoresheet played a key role in their relegation. All told, Sissoko contributed a goal or assist every 378 minutes he was on the pitch—or a little worse than once every four games. Despite his quite poor return and a reputation for drifting out of games, Newcastle believe that Sissoko’s value remains high.

Sissoko’s best season in England remains his first full one, as in 2013-14 he scored three goals and six assists in 38 appearances—a return of a goal or assist every 360 minutes, or only ever so slightly worse than he had last season. In 2014-15 it was a goal or assist every 468 minutes. It all speaks to a player who despite his clear talent has as yet failed to develop a significant end product.

It might not be too late for Sissoko—he turns 27 in August and should be entering his prime years—but his development has been stagnant at best at Newcastle, and it’s difficult to imagine him worth much more than the Hamburg bid Newcastle turned down. Liverpool and Chelsea may have enquired, then, but if Newcastle want closer to £20M than £10M, it’s hard to see their interest going any further.