New reports suggest that Aston Villa’s interest in Moussa Sissoko is indeed real, but given the other teams in the mix they could have quite the battle on their hands.
Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail is reporting that Aston Villa is considering a bid for Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko. The 22-year-old, who has been a regular for Toulouse since the 2007-08 season and has made five appearances for the France national team, will be out of contract at the end of the season and could be available for an attractive price somewhere in the neighborhood of £3 million. This is a link that's been around for a week or so now, but Kendrick's confirmation of Villa's interest is a pretty big step towards things moving from speculation to legitimacy.
Sissoko is exactly the kind of player I'd like to see Villa targeting, a young and promising player with growing still to do but an established record of quality and experience at a relatively high level. There are those that would see Sissoko's age and lack of Premier League experience and scoff, but this is a player with nearly 200 appearances for a consistently good Toulouse side and experience in the Champions League and World Cup qualifying matches. If not for his contract situation Sissoko would likely cost a whole lot more, and the likelihood that his value will only increase as time goes on will be attractive to Randy Lerner.
Of course, all of the above makes him an attractive target for other teams, and as one would expect Aston Villa is not high up the list in terms of attractive sides that have been linked to Sissoko. Kendrick reports that Olympique Marseille is thought to be the front-runner, and though Ligue 1 isn't quite the Premier League there's little doubt that a title chase and likely Champions League qualification would be a more enjoyable situation than a relegation battle. And it's not just OM that's been linked to Sissoko; Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Sunderland have all been mentioned as well.
That's not to say all of the above mentioned clubs are seriously considering Sissoko, or that simply playing for a club in a better situation is necessarily a better situation for the player himself. But were I a betting man, I wouldn't wager a whole lot on Sissoko's picture being snapped holding up a Villa shirt in front of Bodymoor Heath anytime soon. It's certainly good news that Aston Villa is targeting a player such as him, and there's enough plausibility to the connection that it's exciting. But this is a case where the club is likely punching above their (current) weight.