- Premier League
Newcastle wrap up Sissoko deal
Newcastle United have completed the signing of Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko, making him the club's fourth new signing of the window.
Sissoko, 23, has put pen-to-paper on a six-and-a-half year deal at St. James' Park and will wear the No. 7 shirt. He played nearly 200 times for Toulouse but had been frozen out of the first-team picture after threatening to sign a pre-contract agreement with the Magpies.
Sissoko was in the final year of his contract with Toulouse and had been linked with a host of clubs including Inter Milan, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur. A fee believed to be in the region of €2.5 million was agreed and the player signed a contract to run until 2018 on Friday. He has waived his signing on fee to make sure the transfer goes through.
The France international said: "I am delighted to be a Newcastle United player. This is a massive club playing in the best league in the world, and I believe my style of play is suited to the Premier League.
"I have heard lots about how fantastic the Newcastle supporters are and cannot wait to get started. I am rising to a new challenge by coming here and want to firstly help the team improve this season and then progress after that."
On Thursday, Massadio Haidara signed from Nancy for an undisclosed fee and penned a five-and-a-half-year deal. The France Under-21 international also spoke to the club's official website and said: "It was the desire of the club to sign me up which was the most important factor. It was nothing to do with the league position. It was really all about the club's desire and willingness to sign me up. Also, I like the club's ambition to strengthen the whole team so we can improve our league position. That's what appealed to me so I didn't hesitate."
Manager Alan Pardew added: "Massadio is very highly-thought of in France and he's somebody who our scouting team have been greatly impressed by. At the age of 20, he will only continue to get better but he's already played a lot of games in his country's top division and represented France at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level. He's strong and quick and we're looking forward to seeing him develop here."
Haidara told l'equipe.fr: "I feel like I'm in France. It's a Ligue 1 team in the English league. I haven't had the chance yet to meet everyone. Only Mapou (Yanga-Mbiwa) and Yoan (Gouffran). We crossed paths at the medical and we're in the same hotel. It's good, we're going to see each other regularly.
"It's true that there was Fiorentina, Roma and Milan, but I wanted to play in the Premier League. It's the league that I was most attracted to, which corresponds best to my style of play. When Newcastle came in, I didn't hesitate."
There are now 11 French players at the club and Haidara added: "Yes, that counted. I'm still very young, I need help. To go overseas, it's a bit like going into the unknown. That should help me to adapt.
"I'm going to try to adapt to the English game first, to earn a place in the team and make an impact. The ideal scenario, for me, would have been to leave in June and finish the season with Nancy. But given that it suited the directors and that it was a big club in for me, it doesn't bother me. Everyone is happy."
Meanwhile, Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi that the club have rejected Newcastle's €3 million offer for midfielder Florian Thauvin. The bid included a 15% sell on clause with Thauvin returning to the club on loan.
Thauvin, a French Under-21 international, has also attracted interest from Arsenal with Geronimi revealing on Thursday that while he has spoken to Arsene Wenger, no offer was forthcoming: "We have not received any firm offer from Arsenal and, thus, there is no question of the €5 million reported. This week I have had Arsene Wenger on the phone twice. He expressed his interest in the player to us, but it has not gone beyond that."