The year was 2007, and it was a humid night in Camp Nou, Barcelona. Strange considering it was the middle of February, and it was 14 degrees Centigrade outside. Maybe, it was just the visitors, and us journalists, who were feeling hot under their collars, at the entirety of ninety-nine thousand, three hundred and fifty-four exhaled as they roared.
The dew factor was telling as the ball fizzed across the hallowed ground where Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Lilian Thuram, Carlos Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Gianluca Zambrotta, and Andres Iniesta were strutting their stuff. However, there was one player among a few others, who showed nothing but an unsettling, nerveless calm. Sliding and crashing into the who’s who of world football with utter disdain, and claiming the ball for his team, who, still now, remain the only English club to defeat Barcelona at Camp Nou. He ploughed through Ronaldinho; Deco was made his pinata; Xavi had, perhaps, his most frustrating game of football, in his backyard; Iniesta was listless. The team in question, is Liverpool, the protagonist, Momo Sissoko.
Now, I’m painfully aware of the disillusionment surrounding Tony Pulis and West Brom, at the moment, the club’s fans are upping arms. Nacer Chadli is perhaps the only bright spark. Fans fearing Matt Phillips, Allan Nyom, Hal Robson-Kanu, and Brendan Galloway may not be enough to stop the Baggies into slipping into a relegation dogfight. But Momo Sissoko, who is training with the squad, as per reports, and on the verge of sealing a move back to the Premier League may not be as bad a move as fans are making it out to be. And here’s why.
#1 Top-notch European Credentials
La Liga winner, UEFA Cup winner, 2 times UEFA Super Cup winner, Ligue 1 winner, FA cup winner. Momo Sissoko brings with him an indefatigable will to win, and that too at the highest level. Having played for the likes of Juventus, Valencia, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, and Fiorentina, he would imbue European class professionalism and talent at the Hawthorns.
#2 Big-game Player
Momo Sissoko, most notably, in his time at Valencia and Liverpool has taken the gauntlet thrown down at him, in some of the biggest matches in European football. He’s done more than thrive under the pressure playing against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Roma, Manchester United and the likes, he’s relished those opportunities of exercising his talent against the best players in the world, and coming on top of them.
#3 Quality Option
If man-mountain, Momo Sissoko is handed the chance to stomp the ground of the Hawthorns, will apparel the squad with steel, vigour, and intensity. The Black Ninja, as is lovingly called, has the talent to be a starter, but given his trysts with injury, would find his place in the squad as more than a suitable back-up for Yacob.
While, not exactly the most technical midfielder, in terms of his passing over a distance, he does, more than a decent job of laying the ball off with proficiency. His power and drive with the ball at his feet are also an added bonus. For free, the Malian international isn’t someone West Brom should pass up on.