MOUSSA SISSOKO is hoping to return to Newcastle United as a World Cup winner after his first international goal helped France all-but-guarantee themselves a place in the last 16 of the tournament.
Sissoko scored his side’s final goal as they thrashed Switzerland 5-2 on Friday evening, and Didier Deschamps’ side currently top Group E ahead of their final group game with Ecuador on Wednesday night.
Provided they finish on top of their pool, they are likely to face either Nigeria or Iran in their first knockout game, hardly a daunting prospect given the quality of France’s football in their opening two fixtures.
Sissoko is one of two Newcastle players in the current French side – full-back Mathieu Debuchy is the other – with former Magpies Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy also important members of Deschamps’ squad.
With England having flopped so spectacularly in Brazil, a number of Newcastle fans will be lending their support to France for the remainder of the tournament, and Sissoko sees no reason why Les Bleus’ current winning run should not continue.
“At the moment, we are playing very well,” said the midfielder, who has never quite hit his top form during his 18 months with the Magpies. “We’re strong defensively, but also creating many chances in attack.
“Our strikers have great confidence at the moment and we are scoring lots of goals. A lot of different players are scoring too, it is great for the team.
“The coach can change someone, but the new player comes in and plays well. We are a good team and we are playing very well – we can have a good tournament.”
While Sissoko looks reasonably well settled on Tyneside, it remains to be seen whether Debuchy’s strong World Cup displays result in renewed interest from Paris St Germain.
The reigning French champions have been linked with Debuchy on a number of occasions in the past, and are expected to be in the market for a new right-back this summer.
Tottenham have been linked with another of Newcastle’s players currently at the World Cup, Tim Krul, but any move for the Dutchman would be dependent on Hugo Lloris leaving White Hart Lane.
Like Debuchy, Lloris is a potential target for Paris St Germain, and new Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has identified Krul as a possible replacement.
However, with the 26-year-old contracted to St James’ Park until 2017, Newcastle would drive an extremely hard bargain before allowing him to leave.
The Magpies were linked with Ecuador attacker Enner Valencia over the weekend, but the reports are not believed to have any substance.