By Tom Blackburn

Rafa Benitez admits agents are speculating furiously about Moussa Sissoko leaving Newcastle but remains hopeful the midfielder will stay at the club this season.

Sissoko has attracted interest from a number of European giants but Newcastle’s £35million price tag appears to have prevented concrete bids.

In a press conference ahead of their Championship opener against Fulham, manager Benitez maintained his hopes of keeping the Euro 2016 runner-up.

“Moussa is training well and we don’t have any official offers on the table, a lot of speculation from agents and media but nothing on the table officially,” Benitez said, as quoted by the Newcastle Chronicle.

“If he goes hopefully it will be the right price for us but if he stays I will be delighted.”

Sissoko is contracted with Newcastle until June 2019, but prefers an immediate move back to top-flight football rather than fighting for promotion in the Championship next season.

The France international was the outstanding player for his team at Euro 2016 as they lost 1-0 to Portugal in the final, after emerging as a regular for the runners-up in the tournament’s latter stages.

Sissoko was a mainstay for the Magpies last season, and was named captain by Rafael Benitez for the final matches of the campaign.

However, he scored just one goal from 39 appearances and 3,402 minutes of action, a poor return for a player with 35 caps for France and one who plays so high up the pitch.

On Wednesday, Marca claimed that Real Madrid were not interested in the midfielder despite speculation.

In other Real Madrid news, Alan Shearer has sent a Twitter message to a player after Benitez made a huge decision.