Moussa Sissoko: France’s next Patrick Vieira?
Last year, not many people heard of Toulouse’s prospect Moussa Sissoko. And, so far this year, very few people have heard of him outside the Ligue 1 circles. If you were able to watch the last two World Cup qualifying matches against Austria and the Faroe Islands, you might understand what all the talk is about.
When watching Sissoko, you can see shades of Patrick Vieira, a skillful box-to-box player. He has the offensive talent to put the ball in the back of the net, like he has done four times this season for Toulouse already. He also has a nack for falling back and playing more of a defensive role, which was originally his role with the Toulouse youth team.
A few weeks ago, I said that I felt that Franck Ribery wasn’t being played as much in the French lineup because of the new type of style that Raymond Domenech is playing (with or without injury). As of right now, there is no need for a central attacking midfielder, as Sidney Govou and Thierry Henry have done a great job on the flanks.
But the addition of Sissoko to the line-up gives Domenech the flexibility at the midfield that France hasn’t had since, well, Patrick Vieira. Sissoko might be the reason why Vieira hasn’t been asked back to the French National Team.
As we all know. Franck Ribery is a great attacking midfielder. He is great when he is healthy. But that is all he is, an attacker. When he has to defend, he is somewhat of a wimp. Maybe because of the injuries that he as sustained or maybe he just isn’t defensive minded. Still, defensively he isn’t good.
The other midfielders that France use are purely defensive minded. Again, Lassana Diarra and Jeremy Toulalan are great players. I would even say that Toulalan is the best player on the squad right now. But these players are the opposite of Ribery…purely defensive minded. They work perfect in Domenech’s defending central midfield, but rarely threaten the goal.
This is where Moussa Sissoko fits into the team perfectly. If France is down in a match, Domenech just asks Sissoko to move up. When they are leading, he just falls back. There is no need for a substitute whatsoever. He has a player that can switch his style of play in a split second, the perfect box-to-box player.
As was mentioned earlier, Sissoko was brought up through the youth systems at Red Star FC and Toulouse as a defensive midfielder. But as his skills were noticed more and more by the coaching staff, they started pushing him forward, making him the complete player that he is today.
With Toulouse, Sissoko has become the number one scoring threat on the team. Even with Andre-Pierre Gignac, the prolific French international who scored 24 goals for Toulouse last year and four goals in eight games for the French National Team, Sissoko is becoming the central player in the Toulouse attack. And in the past few weeks, a number of Raymond Domenech’s assistants have been spotted at TFC matches scouting the young player.
As of right now, he hasn’t become an international football household name. But just give it a few years. I assume that Toulouse will be given a number of offers from other European football clubs to bring this 20-year old to their club. And, at that time, the work about Moussa Sissoko will be out and about.
Expect him to become the next Patrick Vieira.