Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has added a hefty dollop of quality to his midfield in the shape of Yves Bissouma and football.london got an expert’s view on exactly what the fans can expect from the club’s new signing.
Spurs pounced to sign the 25-year-old Mali international for a fee that could rise to more than £30million with various add-ons. Touted as one of the best Premier League players outside of the traditional top six, the north London club have been widely lauded for completing one of the deals of the summer transfer window so far to bolster Conte’s squad.
Richie Mills, Brighton reporter for Sussex Live, has covered Bissouma week in, week out in recent seasons so football.london thought who better to get the expert lowdown on the midfielder’s strengths and weaknesses and plenty more. We asked him a series of questions about Tottenham’s new signing and below are his answers.
READ MORE: Christian Eriksen latest as Tottenham do not follow up interest in transfer return
What can Spurs fans expect from Yves Bissouma?
Spurs fans can expect one of the best ball winners in the game; a marauding and athletic midfielder who can go box-to-box, and he is capable of the odd wonder goal. He is predominantly right-footed, favours shorter passes over long ones, and is very competent at driving out from the back to kickstart an attack. His dribbling and close ball control has come on leaps and bounds, too. When he joined Brighton in 2018 he showed flashes of brilliance but he was inconsistent. Now he rarely has a bad game.
Is he ready for the Champions League level?
Brighton boss Graham Potter has repeatedly said Bissouma has the qualities to play in the Champions League over the past 18 months or so. After Albion’s 1-0 win over Spurs last season, he said: “He [Bissouma] understood when to cover, release, put pressure on, and then you can see his qualities. His high-end actions are Champions League level. I think you saw the full array of his quality.”
What are his weaknesses?
Because the defensive part of his game is so good, some of his deficiencies are not a big issue. If he could iron those out he will be world class. His shot success is pretty low, his long-range passing could be worked on and he does tend to pick up too many yellow cards.
He picked up 10 bookings over the course of last season, meaning he missed three matches overall. Graham Potter said that is one part of his game Brighton wanted to work on, but it could be something of a double-edged sword.
“It is something he can improve and something that we can improve because that number (10) is too high for the games that he has played, I think that is fair to say,” said Potter in April. “I think he would say the same, but at the same time, it is a fine line because you know he is that type of player, and it is important he has that physicality and intensity in those defensive situations. You only have to mistime it, or something happens, and it can be a yellow card, and that is something that we can do better at in order to help him.”
Conte demands a high workrate from his players for the full 90 minutes and really high fitness levels, will he be able to handle that?
Fitness wise, Bissouma proved to be one of Brighton’s fittest players. It was very rare to see him out on his feet and often he was the figure who would spearhead his side’s efforts to get them back into a game or take it to the opposition. Some of his games over the past two seasons have been phenomenal.
How does he work with others? Was he popular in the Brighton dressing room?
Towards the back end of last season, he formed a great partnership with Brighton team-mate Moises Caicedo. They were exceptional in the 1-0 win over Tottenham last term, with the pair acting as a sort of double act. When one got forward, the other covered, and vice versa. Bissouma was a fan favourite with the Seagulls and his team-mates love him.
Brighton’s kitman, Alex Burrows, had this to say about him in 2020: “The lads always pop in and ask for bits and pieces too, they’re a great group. I have to say that Yves Bissouma is one of the funniest people I’ve met. He’ll be in the office just chatting to someone in French on Facetime, then he’ll switch to me and back again – he’s a great laugh!”
Source by Football London