Moussa Sissoko insists that his long-term future is at Tottenham Hotspur, despite a notably spotty start to his White Hart Lane career.
Eyebrows were raised when Spurs, facing stern competition from newly-minted Premier League rivals Everton, decided to splash £30m ($36.9m) on the languid midfielder from Newcastle United during the final hours of last summer's transfer window. Many evidently felt that the club had vastly overpaid, despite Sissoko's impressive performances during France's run to the final of Euro 2016 still fresh in the memory.
Sissoko, who penned a five-year deal, has largely flattered to deceive during his first five months in north London, making just 10 starts across all competitions to date under Mauricio Pochettino. Only six of those have come in the top flight, where the frustratingly inconsistent 27-year-old is yet to chip in with any goals.
Such a disappointing start has predictably led to speculation Tottenham might already be tempted to cut their losses, with The Mirror recently reporting that AC Milan are one of a number of potentially interested suitors currently monitoring the situation. Despite links to Serie A, however, the player insists that he will stay put and admits he is still getting to grips with Pochettino's system.
"My future is at Tottenham and I'm trying to give my best," he told beIN Sports, as relayed by Sky Sports. "I'm trying to learn because I have to get used to a new style of playing in a new team."
Sissoko has started just three games during the early stages of 2017, featuring from the off in FA Cup ties against Aston Villa and Wycombe Wanderers as well as the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie against KAA Gent. Speaking in late November, Pochettino urged the former Toulouse stalwart, who is also said to have attracted attention from Real Madrid after outshining Paul Pogba at the European Championship, to work harder in training in order to prove that he is worthy of more regular opportunities.
"Football is not about money," he said. "You need to show on the training ground you are better than another teammate and you deserve to be involved.
"If you sign a player and you expect something and you do not find what you expect and if another deserves to be involved, like [Georges-Kevin] Nkoudou or [Vincent] Janssen why? Because we paid money we need to put the player out to play? Of course he needs to work hard and show in the future he deserves to be involved in the team. I need to take a decision and I believe the players that start on the bench deserve to be involved."