However, both heavyweights look set to be disappointed, with McClaren outlining his admiration for the powerful box-to-box midfielder and indicating that he is keen to use Sissoko as a centrepiece of his new side.
“We cannot lose Moussa, I know there’s a lot of interest but he’s under contract,” the coach began, speaking on a BBC Newcastle phone-in, as reported by BBC Sport.
“On my first day he walked into my office, a specimen of a man. An absolute presence and a great manner. Very professional and low maintenance,” McClaren continued.
“I’ve said to Lee Charnley [Newcastle’s Managing Director], ‘wow, we’ve got to keep this guy’. I want to build a team around him.”
The Star had reported that a fee of at least £17 million would have been required to have secured the services of the box-to-box operator, while the arrival of Chancel Mbemba—who signed for £8 million from Anderlecht [The Guardian]—might have represented an ideal replacement for the former Toulouse FC man.
However, it now looks as though Sissoko will be staying, meaning that Liverpool and City that must look elsewhere.
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The Citizens have signed Aston Villa skipper Fabian Delph already this summer, and along with the likes of Fernando, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, would appear to be well-stocked in the centre of midfield.
Liverpool can call upon Jordan Henderson, while new boy James Milner should be a valuable contributor, although it remains to be seen if either of these two—or the likes of Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen or Emre Can can replace the influence lost with the retirement of Steven Gerrard.