Everton have desperately attempted to save face over their failure to secure the deadline day signing of Moussa Sissoko, after claiming they withdrew from negotiations and allowed Tottenham Hotspur to complete a move for the France international. Both clubs were vying to acquire the 27-year-old in the final hours of the summer transfer window, before Spurs eventually landed the player in dramatic fashion.
Sissoko has signed a five-year deal after swapping Championship side Newcastle United – whom he suffered relegation from the Premier League with last season – for White Hart Lane having been convinced by international counterpart Hugo Lloris to move to north London. The former Toulouse midfielder has targeted playing in the Champions League in recent seasons and will have that opportunity under Mauricio Pochettino.
The Daily Telegraph claims that Sissoko had agreed to move to Goodison Park after Everton met his £30m ($40m, €36m) valuation, however, he failed to return phone calls made by manager Ronald Koeman or turn up to discuss personal terms. But after Tottenham matched Everton's offer, Sissoko went on to complete the move to last season's third place side in the top flight.
But owner Farhad Moshiri has contradicted those reports and suggested that Everton pulled out of the deal to sign Sissoko prior to the player choosing to move to Tottenham. The British-Iranian businessman says negotiations were ceased out of respect of loyalty to midfielder James McCarthy – whose future may have been jeopardised by Sissoko's arrival.
"Sissoko is a great player," Moshiri said in a statement, according to Sky Sports. "But when I bought into Everton I made it clear I was proud to join a family. And we don't turn our backs on our own. Keeping James McCarthy was a priority and ultimately we could not proceed with a deal that would jeopardise his place at Everton. We wish Sissoko the best."
Having made the decision to overlook Everton's interest in favour of a move to Tottenham, Sissoko will likely escape direct criticism from the Merseyside faithful this term with the two teams having already clashed at Goodison Park in the Premier League this term. Everton do travel to White Hart Lane on 4 March in what could be Sissoko's first appearance against the club he turned down.