Sometimes it just takes a change of scenery for a player to shine. Moussa Sissoko has taken his move to heart, and Newcastle United has been a happy beneficiary since his arrival.
Sissoko joined Newcastle on Jan. 25 from the French Ligue 1 club Toulouse and paid dividends immediately as the Magpies won its first two matches since his arrival. He assisted Papiss Cisse on the opening goal Jan. 29 in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, then followed Saturday with a sterling two-goal performance during a 3-2 win over Chelsea.
The wins gave Newcastle a little room between it and the relegation zone, but the margin still is only six points as the Magpies sit in 15th.
The 23-year-old Sissoko came to Newcastle on a $3.4 million transfer after he was suspended by Toulouse after he reportedly threatened to sign a pre-contract agreement with Newcastle. His contract with Toulouse was set to expire during the summer. Sissoko even waived his fee to sign a 6 1/2-year contract to ensure it would be accepted by The FA.
Sissoko played nearly 200 matches for Toulouse, more recently as a holding midfielder. At Newcastle, he has been pushed forward — and he likes it.
“My game is forward-driven,” said Sissoko to French media as he prepared for Tuesday’s friendly against Germany. He has played six matches for the French national team. “At Newcastle and in England, football is more offensive, so it suits me better.”
Newcastle will work to move further up the Premier League table Saturday when it travels to fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. His addition also should help the Magpies on Feb. 14 and 21 when they face Metalist Kharkiv in a UEFA Europa League round-of-32 tie.