Speaking exclusively to Foot Mercato, Moussa Sissoko set out his stall for the summer transfer window, heavily complimenting Arsenal in the process and confirming his desire to leave Newcastle.
On Rafa Benitez:
Since he arrived, I have had a very good relationship with him. He is a coach that I already knew. When I was at Toulouse, he wanted me at Liverpool. I decided to stay at Toulouse because I was still young and I wanted to continue my development over there. When I arrived, we were able to speak together. Things went very well. Sadly, we were unable to stay up. But him and I have always had a good relationship.
Rafa Benitez absolutely wants to keep the player at Newcastle next season, but Moussa Sissoko has other ideas…
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. I need to continue to evolve. I aspire to play for the greatest European clubs and to continue with the French national team.
Today, if I played in the Championship, I would put my place with the French national team in jeopardy and in terms of many other things. I have already had a discussion with him. My advisors will also have a discussion with him. I think that he knows what I want, where I want to go. So I hope that there will not be a problem for me to go and enjoy myself at another club.
On whether or not Newcastle will let him go:
Personally I have not spoken with the club. My advisors have. I do not know, I hope so with all my heart. I arrived there three years ago, three and a half years ago, when Newcastle was in a difficult situation and was playing for survival. I am not going to say that “I saved them,” we were able to keep the club up.
I have given everything for three years. I hope today that they will be clever enough to understand that in order to continue my development, I need to to continue to play at the highest level. That will happen by leaving for another club. 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.
On where he wants to go next:
I would like to continue my career in England, in a club that plays Champions League football because I think that the English league suits my style of play the best. Having said that, I am not closing any doors. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. My advisors and I are open to everything. We will make the best possible decision.
The player appeared to know where he might be headed…
That, I am going to have to keep to myself. I love lots of clubs. There are discussions that have to happen. I hope just to find the best club for me, where I can enjoy myself as much as possible. As I have said, before everything else, Newcastle have to accept my choice. I want to continue to progress, to play at a very high level, to continue to play for the French national team. At Newcastle, that would be difficult, I think.
On reported interest from Arsenal:
It is very flattering. Arsenal is one of the best European teams. To be watched by that sort of club, that proves that you are a quality player. It is good to know. I hope that I will have the chance, soon, to play for this club or for a similar club…
It is a very big European club. I think that very few people would refuse to play for this club. Everyone knows, I often said it when I was young, Arsenal is the club of my heart, because there were quite a few French players there like Thierry Henry, Robert Pirès, Sylvain Wiltord, Patrick Vieira who was my idol…
The beautiful Arsenal. We will see. I cannot tell you if I am going to go to Arsenal. 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.