The 21-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League over the last few days, and he could be the signing that makes Chris Hughton’s team one to watch in 2018/19.
Brighton and Hove Albion are reportedly closing in on Lille midfielder Yves Bissouma.
The Ligue 1 club want £17.5m for their man’s services, and the 21-year-old looks set to reject Portuguese giants Porto in favour of a move to the Amex stadium, should the Seagulls cough up the money.
Many Albion fans will agree that the Club has been very shrewd in the transfer market this summer – but this big money deal could well be the star signing that makes the Seagulls one of the teams to watch out for in 2018/19. Bissouma would not only bolster the centre of Brighton’s midfield, but also help unlock their attacking pedigree.
The central midfielder broke into the first team at Lille two years ago and made 30 appearances for Les Dogues last season. He has already got 15 international caps for Mali and has scored three goals for his country.
According to whoscored.com, Bissouma recorded his best stats playing as a defensive midfielder – with a rating of 7.62. Should he take up a defensive role within the Albion line-up, it would enable Dale Stephens or Davy Propper to take up a more attacking position next season.
Propper has been used as a number 10 in the Dutch national team, and could now look to support Pascal Gross further up the pitch when the side are threatening in the final third.
Bissouma would hopefully help improve the team’s away record next season, which is one of the aims I’m sure Chris Hughton has for the upcoming campaign.
Brighton finished bottom of the away form table in 2017-18, registering just two wins (against West Ham United and Swansea City) and 11 points away from the Amex. Bissouma would add that extra protection for the backline. His physical presence, with Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk behind him, could provide Brighton with a strong defensive spine that enables them to build a more offensive team around them.
It’s not clear yet how Hughton plans to set his side up next season – with plenty of forward options to choose from: Glenn Murray, Jurgen Locadia, Florin Andone, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock.
He could go 5-3-2, with Gross and either Stephens, Propper or Beram Kayal pushing forward to support the two strikers. Jose Izquierdo, Solly March, Bernardo and Bruno could all play as wing backs, leaving Dunk, Duffy and Balogun as a solid back three.
I very much doubt he will continue to use the relatively successful 4-4-1-1 formation which he used predominantly last season, considering who has joined the club since last August.
We must remember that the Bissouma deal hasn’t been finalised yet, but should it happen, Albion fans should get very excited for the season ahead.