MOUSSA Sissoko’s set for talks with Newcastle United in the New Year – after being sold on the club by Yohan Cabaye.
The Toulouse midfielder is out of contract at the Ligue 1 club next summer.
And Newcastle are leading the race to sign the 23-year-old.
Sissoko is free to sign a pre-contract agreement in January, and United have watched him extensively over the past two years.
Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Fulham have also been credited with an interest in Sissoko, who can play as an attacking or holding player.
United manager Alan Pardew said it was “news to me” when asked, after Sunday’s win over West Bromwich Albion, about reports circulating in France that Sissoko had already agreed a deal to join the club.
However, the Gazette understands he is keen on a move to Tyneside.
Cabaye, a France team-mate of Sissoko, has recommended the club to him.
And Newcastle look to be the experienced player’s preferred destination.
The club has delved heavily into the French market in recent seasons under the astute guidance of chief scout Graham Carr, who watches matches in the country on a near-weekly basis.
United have found value in France, not least with Cabaye.
Newcastle took advantage of a clause in the 26-year-old’s Lille contract last year to sign him for a reported £4.3m.
Cabaye, a revelation last season, has since established himself as a mainstay of France’s midfield.
Sissoko has five international caps to his name.