French outlet Radio Monte Carlo is reporting that Aston Villa are one of a handful of clubs pursuing 23-year-old Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Sissoko, who has been with Toulouse since 2007 and made over 180 appearances for the club, will be out of contract in the summer and has reportedly attracted the interest of Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United in addition to Villa. Though Toulouse is apparently somewhat reluctant to sell, the player is has expressed a desire to move on and the club could likely be persuaded to accept an offer to avoid being left empty-handed.
While Juventus and Spurs can certainly offer things Aston Villa cannot at this time, Sissoko would likely find himself a depth player at either club. At this point in his career, it's certainly there's a case to be made that choosing a destination that offers a better chance at consistent first-team playing time. It's impossible to read Sissoko's state of mind (or perhaps more importantly that of his agent) but it's not as though Aston Villa is a completely implausible destination.
And from Villa's perspective, Sissoko is exactly the kind of player Paul Lambert should be looking targeting. A big, tireless, tactically sound midfielder with solid vision and excellent tackling ability, Sissoko bring some much needed steel to the center of the park. Though Sissoko isn't exactly a playmaker or attacking threat, his ability to serve as a dependable link in transition and stifle opposition attacks would be a welcome addition. And beyond drilling down to individual skills, Sissoko is just a flat-out good player. Aston Villa need more of those, and if they can add one that fills a specific need and has the potential to increase his market value significantly in the next few years, that's a pretty clear win.
We'll see all manner of transfer rumors in the coming month, but in many ways these are the most frustrating to see coming down the pike. The source and circumstances are just plausible enough to make it seem realistic, but an understanding of how the rumor mill functions and the somewhat diminished standing of the club would seem to suggest that the chances of things working out in the end are slim. Nonetheless, there's some reason to take heart in this rumor. Villa might not end up landing Sissoko, but there's no reason to doubt that they're legitimately in the mix and that they're looking at players of his ilk. Seeing as this is a player that ticks nearly everyone's boxes, that's very much a good thing.