Stick or Twist: Should Tottenham consider selling Moussa Sissoko in January?

Stick or Twist: Should Tottenham consider selling Moussa Sissoko in January?

Should Tottenham cash in on the midfielder?

Oliver Emmerson

In a week where Moussa Sissoko's time at Tottenham Hotspur has taken another downturn, reports have began to link him with a move away from White Hart Lane.

Having only joined on Deadline Day in August, that would represent something of a catastrophe for both the player and club, however you have to wonder how much patience Mauricio Pochettino has left with his record signing.

The story so far, a dystopian nightmare

Having missed out on key targets such as Michy Batshuayi at various stages over the summer, it was known that Spurs had money to spend going into the final day of the transfer window.

However, nobody had an idea that it would be Sissoko. Eyebrows had been raised when it was reported that Everton had lodged a £25million bid to Newcastle United, but jaws dropped when Daniel Levy threw in £30million for the midfielder. 

Although he'd had a good European Championship with France, Sissoko had previously been accused of downing tools in Newcastle's relegation battle, leaving him unworthy of a place amongst the Premier League's elite clubs.

Still, Tottenham wanted him. Tottenham got him, for a club-record fee, no less. He was expected to deliver.

Unfortunately, he hasn't. Unable to keep his place in the Spurs side for more than a game at a time, Sissoko has looked a shadow of the player that impressed so heavily in the summer, even off the bench late on in games.

However, new players can be forgiven for making a slow start. Yes, Sissoko had Premier League experience, but not at the top of the table.

What's made the situation worse, is that the midfielder now seems determined to fall out with his manager.

Speaking after Tottenham were knocked out of the Champions League, Sissoko explained that he thought the decision to play European home games at Wembley Stadium was detrimental to their chances of qualifying.

Pochettino, who was happy with the agreement, was not happy with Sissoko's comments, especially given the Frenchman's poor performances in the competition to date. 

With this in mind, he dropped him for Saturday's game against Chelsea, Sissoko out of the squad completely. And in turn, by Wednesday morning, there were reports leaked that he may look to move on in January. But would that be the right move?

His record doesn't show signs of redemption

One thing going against Sissoko is that the lack of promise on the pitch leaves people wondering whether or not he's capable of turning things around with his manager. 

If Sissoko had been lighting things up, at least sporadically, he may have had a case that Pochettino shouldn't punish him by excluding him completely from the squad.

However, as it stands, Sissoko is an overpaid, underperforming, expensive flop, one that is now saying the wrong things publicly.

Pochettino is a stern manager, but does give chances to players. However, Sissoko didn't turn things around when the fans started to get on his back at Newcastle, performances getting so bad that he reached a stage where - had the Toon not been so clever in getting a large fee for him - he could well have been forced out of the club.

If that happens at Spurs, questions are going to have to be answered by the men that agreed to pay the money for him.

Getting rid of Sissoko would likely see a huge loss of money, but would offer Pochettino some more funds in January, as he looks to rescue a Spurs side that have fallen seven points from the top of the table. 

Is there a case to keep him?

All of this leaves little case to keep Sissoko, you'd think. However, there's always an alternative argument.

Sissoko has shown form that makes him a standout player in Europe, especially in the summer, meaning that he's in no way 'past his peak'. 

Able to play in both central midfield and on the right, his versatility could be crucial to Pochettino next month, with Spurs set to play six games in a 25 day period.

It could be suggested that Sissoko's poor form could be due to Pochettino not quite finding a position that he can excell from within yet, as Mousa Dembele takes up the 'ball carrying' role in Tottenham's midfield, whilst in Harry Kane's absence they've not needed someone to burst down the wing and whip crosses in. 

Kane is back now so Tottenham have more aerial presence in the centre of the pitch, whilst injury struggles for Dembele so far this season may see Pochettino tempted to use Sissoko alongside Victor Wanyama a little more often in order to cover the Belgian.

Adding to that, there will inevitably be some pressure from Daniel Levy over Sissoko, with the chairman urging his manager to get the best out of this record buy, a deal that he sanctioned. Whether that's to Tottenham's benefit on the pitch, remains another matter. 

Whether Pochettino and Levy do decide to get rid remains to be seen as other clubs circle, but it's undeniable that they'll be tempted to if performances don't improve. To make that happen, a team effort is needed.