Stubborn Newcastle manager mindful to keep Euro 2016 final star

11/8

TOP BET

Newcastle to win 2016/17 Championship

A rampaging display from Moussa Sissoko in the Euro 2016 final had many Newcastle fans rubbing their eyes. That disbelief could quickly turn to glee if the club cash in on the Frenchman.

Sissoko was a major disappointment at St James’ Park as the Magpies were relegated from the Premier League last season, but regained form during the summer and was a key part of France’s knockout-phase progression.

The midfielder capped his resurgence in the final, leading the team in both dribbles and shots with seven and five respectively.

Predictably, that performance has caused many to ponder whether he’ll remain a Newcastle player by the time the new campaign kicks off.

The Rafa Benitez-managed club get underway against Fulham and are our 15/8 favourites to win the second-tier title, but may have to do so without their number seven.

It has been suggested elite outfits like Liverpool, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund are keen to sign the 26-year-old, but could find any attempts to rescue Sissoko from the Championship met with resistance from Benitez.

The Spaniard moved the former Toulouse star to the number 10 role and even made him club captain when first taking over from Steve McClaren in the north east. He remains certain that Sissoko will be key to Newcastle winning immediate promotion to the top flight.

“We don’t have to sell anyone we don’t want to sell. If someone makes a big offer we’ll analyse it but, for now, we’ll say no to everyone,” Benitez is quoted as saying in The Guardian.

“Players like Moussa need to take responsibility [for relegation],” he continued. “If they do well and get us back to the Premier League everyone will be happy.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.