Alan Pardew believes Moussa Sissoko can become a natural leader for Newcastle United this season – and even fill the boots of Yohan Cabaye.
Newcastle United’s manager has high hopes for his midfielder who has promised much in his 18 months at the club and yet has struggled for consistency.
Sissoko had a good game against Manchester City, when he played in the middle rather than out wide, and Pardew hopes the 25-year-old can become a strong voice on and off the field – something that has perhaps been missing since January when Cabaye left for Paris Saint-Germain.
Asked whether he expected more from Sissoko this season, Pardew said: “Yes, I do. I think Moussa is a player who can grow. I think he can improve in the Premier League and for France.
“He showed a few flashes in the World Cup and that was very pleasing for us. He’s a huge character as well as a very important player for us and I think we will see more of his character this year.
“He has a winning mentality and we are looking forward to a big season from him.
“I wouldn’t say Yohan Cabaye was the leader in the dressing room as such, but he was a leader on the pitch in terms of the way he pulled the strings and dictated the pace.
“Moussa is a different type of player. I think he can lead us with his spirit and his drive. That is his strength and he has already shown that in his early games here when he scored against Chelsea.
“He has such tremendous power and of course in the Premier League that is very important, and in the world game as well.”
Pardew claims that one more transfer could be completed before the end of this month.
Newcastle were yesterday again linked with Manchester City duo Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair.
Defender Richards is rated at £5million and his name has been associated with a move to the North East all summer.
Reports in Manchester suggested that if Newcastle could sell either Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa or Steven Taylor, then they would move for Richards, who can play in the centre of defence as well as at right-back.
Richards is almost certain to move over the next ten days as the competition at the Premier League champions means he is unlikely to get near the first team.
Sinclair and Pardew worked together at Charlton and the winger is available on loan.
However, whether Pardew feels the need for another wide player is debatable, especially if Remy Cabella continues in the form that has so excited Newcastle supporters already.
The £12million signing made a fantastic first impression on Sunday and his manager is hoping for and expecting more.
Pardew said: “Remy is a player our fans will enjoy.
“He is gifted with the ball and can manoeuvre his body very quickly.
“He can move your weight and then take you the other way fast, and therefore it makes him difficult to mark and defend against.
“He will be a player who will open the door for others, hopefully on many occasions. He will create and score goals.”