Newcastle United are ready to offer Moussa Sissoko a new deal.
Head coach Steve McClaren spoke this week about Sissoko’s importance to his plans ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League season-opener against Southampton at St James’s Park (1.30pm kick-off).
I want him to be the main focus of our team.
“We can’t lose Moussa,” said McClaren. “I’ve said to (United managing director) Lee Charnley ‘we’ve got to keep this guy’.
“I want him to be the main focus of our team.”
Sissoko signed a six-and-a-half year deal when he joined Newcastle from Toulouse in Janauary 2013.
And the 25-year-old – who is looking to cement his place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad ahead of Euro 2016, which is being staged in his homeland – still has four years left of that contract to run.
Newcastle, however, are understood to be willing to look at Sissoko’s contract, according to sources in France.
And Sissoko – who has been linked with a number of clubs are the past two years – is not looking to leave the club this summer.
Speaking last month, Sissoko said: “When you are a player, there is always a story, but I’m still at Newcastle and I’m happy here.”
Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse believes tomorrow’s clash with Newcastle will prove “very difficult” as he reckons McClaren’s arrival as manager will have “rejuvenated” the Tynesiders.
However, Saints will arrive in the North East bubbling with confidence after securing a 5-0 aggregate win over Europa League opponents Vitesse Arnhem.
“We knew we had to perform well and the job was half done,” 20-year-old Ward-Prowse said.
“But we were very professional and managed the game well and, obviously, the early goal helped us settle into the game. It’s just a case of doing things the right way for Sunday.”
Jordy Clasie and Shane Long will be assessed before Southampton’s game at Newcastle.
The pair missed Thursday’s 2-0 win at Vitesse due to a hamstring injury and illness, respectively, so will be evaluated upon the team’s return to the south coast.
Saints manager Ronald Koeman may also miss the match as a ruptured Achilles likely requires an operation, while Ryan Bertrand, Gaston Ramirez, Florin Gardos and former Newcastle keeper Fraser Forster are absent.