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Lloris fears Sissoko uncertainty could impact World Cup

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Tottenham Hotspur’s French midfielder Moussa Sissoko, pictured in April 2017, has been vocal about his unhappiness at Tottenham, causing concern about the team’s ability to prepare for the 2018 World Cup © AFP/File / Ben STANSALL

NEW YORK, United States, Jul 26 – France captain Hugo Lloris fears the uncertainty surrounding Moussa Sissoko’s future at Tottenham Hotspur could impact Les Bleus’ preparations for next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Sissoko, who became Spurs’ record signing when he moved from Newcastle United for £30 million ($39.1 million, 33.5 million euros) last August, voiced his unhappiness to L’Equipe in May after making just eight starts last season, as well detailing a fall-out with manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine was less than pleased with the public outcry from the 27-year-old who was omitted from Tottenham’s squad for the current tour of the United States which will see the Premier League side meet Roma on Tuesday night in New Jersey before renewing acquaintances with Manchester City in Nashville on Thursday.

Lloris, however, knows with Russia 2018 looming on the horizon, Sissoko, one of the stars of Euro 2016 for France national manager Didier Deschamps, must seek clarity on his future for the sake of club and country.

Turkish side Trabzonspor have enquired about a loan deal though Tottenham are acutely aware they may have to take a financial hit for the midfielder whose weekly wage – believed to be in the region of £85,000 per week – may prove a stumbling block for any potential suitors.

“Moussa is important for the French national team,” said Lloris.

“He needs to play, obviously, more than last season. But then it’s a question of choices. It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to him and we will see what will happen.”

– ‘Strong in his mind’ –

Tottenham’s French captain Hugo Lloris, pictured in June 2017, acknowledges that the previous season was frustrating for Sissoko, but hopes that his teammate’s mental strength will help him rally © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFE

Lloris, speaking at a Friends of the High Line event in New York, added: “It’s not an easy situation for him, for the team and for the manager.

“Obviously the manager would prefer to have him in the squad and involved in our USA tour but unfortunately he cannot be here.

“He’s preparing himself to be ready for the next weeks. But you know, Moussa is strong in his mind.

“I’ve played with him for a while and I’m not really worried. It’s true that last season was a bit frustrating for him and he’s got a lot to prove, and then we’ll see what will happen in this period.

“Everything can happen but I know Moussa and he’s still committed to what we do.

“There’s a lot of competition in our team, in our squad. We have a lot of talented players, committed, ready to help the team – and then the gaffer will decide who will be in the starting XI,” said Lloris.

“I arrived in the last day of the market (in 2012) and I remember it was not easy for me. But we don’t have a word to say as the player.

“It’s up to the club. We know the transfer market is not an easy period for players, for their minds, for their preparations too, for their bodies.”

Pochettino has yet to make a signing this summer while watching both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Everton spend millions with more to come.

“I trust my club, I trust my manager and the chairman. I don’t know what will happen for Tottenham in the next few weeks,” said Lloris, who has seen right back Kyle Walker leave for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

“I am looking around in Europe in the transfer market and although I am just thinking about Tottenham, I know in the Premier League is getting harder every season. That’s why I love it.”

Winning the Premier League remains the No.1 target for Tottenham yet their disappointing runs in Europe have also proved a bone of contention.

The club exited the Champions League in the group stages before faring no better in the Europa League with a last 32 defeat to Ghent.

“It’s been five seasons now that I’m with Spurs and I’ve got a little bit frustrated about Europe, “ said the Frenchman.

“We’ve got the talent to go further than we’ve done. Hopefully this season we can prove our real value against the best teams in Europe and go as far as possible.”

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