GO­ING UP / DOWN

Soccer 360 - - Premier League -

GO­ING UP

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.

GO­ING DOWN

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.

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