In July 2018, Brighton and Hove Albion completed the signing of Yves Bissouma from Lille. Among English football fans, the Mali-born midfielder was something of an unknown talent. Skip forward to the 2020-21 season, and he’s now one of the Premier League’s most sought-after players. Few can argue that Brighton didn’t unearth a hidden gem when they paid around £15 million for the central midfielder. If the Seagulls choose to sell him in the upcoming summer transfer window, they could easily make a healthy profit. So, let’s look at why the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly interested in his services.
Impressive Both Physically and Technically
Standing at a six-foot-tall, Bissouma is a dominating presence in the heart of Brighton’s midfield. Although not a goal-scoring player, the 24-year-old brings much-needed stability to Graham Potter’s line-up. After his first 31 appearances in the Premier League in the 2020-21 campaign, Bissouma has only been involved in one goal, which he scored at Goodison Park in a 4-2 defeat to Everton. It’s in transitional phases and recovery where the Mali international comes into his own.
According to his profile on the official Premier League website, he recorded a tackle success rate of 64 per cent. Moreover, he also has 50 interceptions and 240 recoveries to his name in 31 top-flight appearances. By comparison, Georginio Wijnaldum’s tackle success rate sits at 33 per cent, while he’s also made just 25 interceptions and 169 recoveries. Although Liverpool typically play a more controlled style than Brighton, both sides had conceded 39 goals after the first 33 top-flight matches.
Although Wijnaldum has made his mark on Liverpool’s midfield in recent years, he’s out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 season, and the Reds will likely be in the market for a replacement. The above stats showcase that the 24-year-old can carry out the defensive responsibilities, but he’s arguably more complete than the Dutchman. Planet Football states that Bissouma averages 1.4 successful dribbles per game, compared to Wijnaldum’s 0.5. Moreover, the Brighton midfielder also creates 1.2 chances each game, which is a figure that only Thiago betters in Liverpool’s midfield.
Becoming a £40-Million Player at the Amex
Because of Bissouma’s all-action approach, he’s the ideal midfielder for the Premier League. Not only can he snuff out the danger, but he can also use his pace and power to drive his team up the field in turning defence into attack. Having caught the eye of English football’s leading clubs, Brighton’s manager, Potter, insists that the Seagulls “have to be honest” about their chances of retaining the 24-year-old’s services for the 2021-22 season. On paper, it’s clear to see why Liverpool are interested, but they aren’t alone. Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United are also keeping their options open regarding Bissouma.
For Arsenal, Bissouma could be the missing piece of Mikel Arteta’s puzzle. The Gunners are struggling to find the right balance under the Spanish manager, and the Malian powerhouse would undoubtedly bring the much-needed drive to the London club’s midfield. Bissouma will reportedly cost more than £40 million in the upcoming summer window, and such a fee could restrict his chances of moving. That said, if Arsenal lift the Europa League in 2020-21, which they are at odds of 11/4 to win, they could potentially fund a move for the Malian.
However, because of his age, Bissouma isn’t just a short-term solution. There’s scope for the former Lille midfielder to grow and develop his skillset in becoming a leading player both domestically and in Europe. Since the 24-year-old left Les Dogues, the club have gone from strength to strength, and they are now taking the fight to Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1. The same is also true of Bissouma, who has taken his game to the next level over the last three years.
A Well-Rounded Talent with a Big Future
Statistically, Bissouma is the complete midfield package. Despite lacking goals and assists, that’s a reflection of his role at the Amex Stadium and the Seagulls’ lack of clinical finishing. It speaks volumes about the Malian’s abilities that a fee of over £40 million is unlikely to put the Premier League’s leading teams off from chasing his signature.