Newcastle United star claims Benitez tried to sign him for Liverpool

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

Moussa Sissoko was a Toulouse player at the time.

Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko (L) in action with Liverpool's Luis SuarezNewcastle's Sissoko in action against the Reds

Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko has told Foot Mercato that Rafa Benitez once tried to sign him for Liverpool.

According to Sissoko, who in the same interview reiterated his desire to quit the Magpies this summer, he was courted by the Spaniard during his time at Toulouse. However, the France international claims the approach came too soon in his career.

Picture Supplied by Action Images *** Local Caption *** 2011-02-27T163435Z_01_GFM104_RTRIDSP_3_SOCCER-FRANCE.jpgSissoko (L) made his Toulouse debut shortly before his 18th birthday

Although he fails to specify the date of Liverpool's apparent interest, Sissoko was not quite 21 at the time of Benitez's Anfield departure.

Now 26, Sissoko was finally united with the 55-year-old in March, when the latter took charge at St. James' Park. However, their working relationship could be a short-lived one if the Magpies' number 7 gets his wish.

"Since he arrived, I have had a very good relationship with him," Sissoko said of Benitez, as quoted by Foot Mercato.

"He is a coach that I already knew. When I was at Toulouse, he wanted me at Liverpool. I decided to stay at Toulouse because I was still young and I wanted to continue my development over there.

Moussa Sissoko celebrates scoring the second goal for Newcastle United with manager Rafael BenitezBenitez and Sissoko: (Newcastle) United at last

"When he arrived, we were able to speak together. Things went very well. Sadly, we were unable to stay up. But he and I have always had a good relationship."

Sissoko, who claims to be "flattered" by reported Arsenal interest, arrived on Tyneside three-and-a-half years ago.

The Parisian has been an ever-present since then, even captaining the Magpies in the absence of Fabricio Coloccini, and scored on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign to preserve his side's Premier League status.

However, Sissoko and co couldn't repeat the trick this time around, leaving Newcastle Championship bound for the second time in eight seasons.

Newcastle's Moussa Sissoko in action with Tottenham's Jan VertonghenWas this Sissoko's final Magpies appearance?

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