Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko says he “thinks” Rafa Benitez understands after declaring his intention to quit the club and join Arsenal.
Sissoko is desperate to leave the club after relegation to the Championship and the 26-year-old seems to be harbouring a move to Arsenal after describing a potential move to the Gunners as “beautiful”.
“It is very flattering,” Sissoko told Foot Mercato. “Arsenal is one of the best European teams. To be watched by that sort of club, that proves that you are a quality player. It is good to know. I hope that I will have the chance, soon, to play for this club or for a similar club…
“It is a very big European club. I think that very few people would refuse to play for this club.
“Everyone knows, I often said it when I was young, Arsenal is the club of my heart, because there were quite a few French players there like Thierry Henry, Robert Pirès, Sylvain Wiltord, Patrick Vieira who was my idol.
“The beautiful Arsenal. We will see. I cannot tell you if I am going to go to Arsenal. For the moment, I am focused on the French national team and the Euros.”
Sissoko, who was handed the captain’s armband by Benitez for the final six games of the season, believes he must move on to maintain his progress with the national team.
“It is flattering that a coach [Benitez] like him, a great coach, wants to keep me,” added Sissoko.
“But I think he knows that I have got to a level where playing in the Championship would be difficult for me.
“I must continue my development. I aspire to play in the biggest clubs in Europe and continue to be in the France team.
“I think he understands.
“Today, if I play in the Championship, I [can] forget about the France team and many other things.
“I have already had a discussion with him. My representatives will have a discussion with him. I think he knows what I want, where I want to go.
“So I hope there will be no problem for me to find my happiness in another club.”