Benitez defends Newcastle’s £35million Sissoko valuation

Date published: Wednesday 13th July 2016 12:55 - James Marshment

Moussa Sissoko: Rafa Benitez keen to keep midfielder

Rafael Benitez has defended the reported £35million transfer fee Newcastle have put on Moussa Sissoko – and underlined their desire to retain the Frenchman’s services.

Sissoko impressed for France at the European Championships and emerged as their best performer in their final defeat to Portugal on Sunday.

Despite a difficult season with Newcastle that culminated in their relegation from the Premier League, the player has since been linked with Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, Arsenal and West Brom, who have so far submitted the only bid for his services.

But Newcastle held firm and demanded a £35m fee, to which his agent reacted angrily.

Speaking to NUTV, manager Benitez has reiterated that the club wish to retain the 26-year-old’s services.

“I’m really disappointed because [France] couldn’t win the final,” said the Spaniard. “I was really pleased for [Sissoko] though, because he was doing really well.

“We know he finished the season in really good form for us – I made him the captain, so I rate him really highly.

“I’m disappointed because they didn’t win, but happy because of his performances. Now we have to wait.

“People are talking about ‘this price’ or ‘this price’- but we don’t want to sell, so we haven’t put any price [on him] and we are pleased, we are happy with him.

“I appreciate him too much to think that we will miss him, so we know he has done really well and a lot of people will be talking about him.

“But we’d like to see him here and that’s it.”

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