Everton manager Ronald Koeman has confessed that the Merseyside club made a major attempt to sign Moussa Sissoko this summer but the France international opted to join Tottenham Hotspur instead.
The all-action midfielder’s stock rose at Euro 2016 courtesy of a number of star performances for the competition hosts.
With Newcastle being relegated last term, it seemed like only a matter of time before Sissoko moved to another employer, with Spurs shelling out £30 million to land him on transfer deadline day.
Koeman has had money to spend since taking over at Goodison Park earlier this summer and broke the club’s transfer record to land Yannick Bolasie.
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However, the Dutch coach was also interested in Sissoko and admitted as much in a press conference this week.
“Overall it was a positive window because we signed some good players like Maarten Stekelenburg, Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye, Yannick Bolasie and Enner Valencia,” The Mirror quote Koeman as saying.
“I think that is really positive. Of course, we had a disappointment on the last day but that happens in football. You don’t always get what you like to have and that was not in our hands.
“The player Sissoko chose finally for a different option, but I can’t say anything against the club, the board, the chairman because he did everything to get the player.
“I did not do the meeting with his agents, but from the outside it was difficult. I spoke to the player 10 days before the last day of the window and the player showed his interest in coming to Everton.
“Then, finally, everyone knows what happened.
“He was the player for us that we needed at the moment – then the picture was totally perfect. But still without that player the picture is very good.
“I am happy with the squad and the signings. We need to keep going.”
Everton have lofty expectations this season under Koeman and have shown signs so far that they have what it takes to challenge for a top-six berth.
Sissoko could well make his debut for Tottenham this weekend against Stoke, but his first task will be to break into Mauricio Pochettino’s first team.