Newcastle United will slap a £20million price tag on Moussa Sissoko after he revealed he wants to quit the Magpies.
St James’s Park boss Rafa Benitez has been assured by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley that he won’t be forced into selling any of his major stars – only the ones that he feels it would be better if they weren’t at the club next season.
To that end, he may feel it’s best to cash in on Sissoko.
The enigmatic Frenchman can look a world-beater one day and uninterested the next – with two many of the latter performances littering his Tyneside career.
However, Benitez is a big fan of the midfielder, and promoted him to captain at the end of the season, gave him a central attacking role and was rewarded with some of the 26-year-old’s best performances in black and white.
Sissoko, however, has revealed he wants to quit Newcastle – but the Magpies won’t let him leave on the cheap.
Sissoko said: “It is flattering that a coach like him, a great coach, wants to keep me. But I think that he is aware I have reached a level where playing in the Championship would be difficult for me.
“As I want to stay in the French national team, I cannot stay in the Championship. There will be discussions. I hope that they go in the right direction. I want to leave.”
Given the mega money flooding into the Premier League next season through a £5billion TV deal, Newcastle would demand a fee of around £20m for Sissoko, who they signed for just £2m in January 2013.
Arsenal are among the teams strongly linked with the player, who admitted the Gunners are “the club of my heart”.
“Arsenal is one of the best European teams,” he added. “I hope that I will have the chance, soon, to play for this club or for a similar club.
“For the moment, I am focused on the French national team and the Euros.
“I have advisors who are dealing with all of that and I hope that things will go well with as little difficulty as possible for me to find another club.”
Benitez will demand face to face talks with Sissoko after Euro 16, with reports claiming the Spaniard met Andros Townsend on Monday to persuade the winger to stay on Tyneside.
Meanwhile, Benitez has been linked with a swoop for Tenerife striker Nano, 21. The Magpies snapped up Ayoze Perez from the Canaries outfit two years ago.