Despite France’s defeat to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016, several members of the Les Blues squad have seen their reputations enhanced by their performances in this summer’s tournament. Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko is one those who saw his stock rise despite an indifferent season for his club, which saw Newcastle relegated to the Championship for the second time in seven years. Indeed, the general consensus was that Sissoko outperformed Manchester United Paul Pogba, although the Juventus player was required to play a holding role by manager Didier Deschamps, which blunted his effectiveness.
Speculation that Sissoko would leave the North East has been rife during the summer, and the player has confirmed that he is setting his sights higher than the Championship in an interview with L’Equipe, translated by Soccer Lens.
“It’s simple. When you are young and want to become a pro football player, your dream is to play for a big club like Real Madrid or Manchester United.
The report also mentions that Arsenal were interested in the player, but he himself hasn’t namechecked the club, and rumours of a deal have since gone quiet.
The perception between United and Arsenal is still drastically different, despite their somewhat differing fortunes over the last three years. Arsenal have managed two FA Cups to United’s one, and the Red Devils have finished outside of the top four twice, missing out on Champions League qualification in the process, but they’ve still been able to bring top-tier talent like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the club, and it’s impossible to imagine Arsenal doing a deal for Paul Pogba, such is the perception of them being Premier League also-rans.
Arsenal have been able to convince high-calibre signings like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to swap La Liga for London, but even their talent has been unable to stop the yearly collapse that the Gunners seem to suffer at some point in every Premier League season over the last decade.
United have endured a tough time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but due to their fierce marketing and deep pockets, they are constantly able to sign big players even without Champions League football. The prestige of signing for United remains strong, even though Arsenal have enjoyed a more prosperous last three years. It seems that Arsenal will never truly be able to shake their tag of underachievers until they are able to truly challenge for the Premier League again, something few expect Arsene Wenger to be able to manage and something that United are expected to do this coming season under Jose Mourinho.