GOING UP / DOWN
Moussa Sissoko impressed for
Newcastle in the season the Magpies were relegated, and looked like being something of a coup when he was snapped up by Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2016. A £30m price tag was maybe a little steep but for a hard-running, physical midfielder with Premier League and international experience, not as out of line as sum transfer fees paid by clubs in England’s top flight.
It’s safe to say though that Sissoko has struggled in London, and within a year he was being touted with a move away from Tottenham. But without an exit in 2017 or 2018, Sissoko stayed part of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad and eventually came good. Spurs went unbeaten in November across all competitions, scoring five goals without conceding any in reply, and Sissoko featured prominently — so much so he was nominated for the November Player of the Month award.
The number of England-qualified players is falling and falling. Stars being imported from outside England and playing week in, week out in the Premier League is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, it’s a major reason why the Division has progressed to being the most-followed of all major Leagues. The sheen and skill of having the best of the rest of the world, added to home-grown players, makes the Premier League what it is.
Yet England manager Gareth Southgate is having his hands tied tighter and tighter by the amount of non-English players in the English top flight. The weekend of November 30-December 1 saw only 54 English players take to the field in the 10 Premier League fixtures, a record low.