Rafael Benitez has warned any clubs interested in Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko to make their move quickly amid continued speculation he is set for a transfer to Real Madrid.
The 26-year-old has publicly expressed his wish to leave Newcastle following their relegation to the Championship and openly talked up reported interest from the European champions.
But Benitez insists Newcastle have no need to sell Sissoko, who impressed as France finished as runners-up at Euro 2016 last month, telling Madrid and any other interested teams not to wait until deadline day on August 31 to swoop.
Former Madrid boss Benitez added that a move for Sissoko becomes increasingly unlikely with every passing day, with Newcastle reportedly demanding a £35million fee if they are to sell.
“If someone thinks if they will wait until August 31 it will be easier, I can guarantee them it will be more difficult,” he told BBC Sport.
“If someone wants to come, they have to come now with the right offer and we will analyse that. If not, he is still our player and he carries on working hard.
“Every day will be more difficult because we are happy with him and we don’t have to sell.”
Benitez also urged Sissoko not to publicly court interest from other clubs, with three years still to run on his deal at St James’ Park.
He added: “I told Moussa we know how things work in modern football and that is not the right way.
“I said, ‘You are a professional, you are our player, I rate you very highly and I like you as a person – keep working hard and let other people do their business’.”
Benitez also confirmed that the player will be included in Newcastle’s squad when they host Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Sissoko had told the BBC on Thursday: “I hope Real will come for me, I’m still waiting.
“If Real Madrid are interested in you then of course you will be happy, but right now I am still a Newcastle player.”
Sissoko played in 37 Premier League matches last season as Newcastle were unable to avoid dropping into the second tier.