By Fraser Bernstein
Watching Moussa Sissoko play for Tottenham Hotspur this season has been interesting to say the least.
Whilst his performances at Euro 2016 for France were positive, the decision to buy him on deadline-day for £30 million smacked of desperation from Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy and manager Mauricio Pochettino.
After all, his season with Newcastle United was incredibly average, so why should a few good international performances demand such a high price tag?
Until December, it appeared as if the worst fears of Tottenham fans were going to be confirmed – Sissoko was a colossal waste of money.
In the few appearances he made for Spurs, the midfielder played without any of the energy or the desire that had become the hallmark of his performances for France in the summer.
However, in the last three weeks, something appears to have clicked.
Whilst still primarily being used as a substitute, Sissoko has started demonstrating the pace, physicality and quality from which a £30m fee is expected.
Tottenham’s recent 2-1 win over Burnley is the most evident of this – one poorly timed tackle aside, the substitute’s introduction arguably swung the game for the Lilywhites, as he injected purpose into attacks and provided the assist for Danny Rose’s winning goal.
The cause of this transformation?
Well, it is probably due to a combination of two factors.
Firstly, Sissoko did not have much of a pre-season – finally, in December, he appears to be match-ready.
Secondly, the realisation that just because he cost a lot of money does not mean he will be an automatic pick in the starting XI also appears to have sunk in.
Pochettino is a manager who picks on merit – it is up to Sissoko to carry on developing the glimpses of form he is showing at the moment, to force his way into what is a young and exciting Spurs side.