Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has added a healthy dose of quality to his midfield in the form of Yves Bissouma and football.london got an expert’s view on exactly what fans can expect from the club’s new signing.
Spurs have been rushing to sign the 25-year-old Mali international for a fee of up to £30million with various additions. Touted as one of the best players in the Premier League outside the traditional top six, the north London club have been widely hailed for completing one of the summer transfer window deals so far to bolster Conte’s team.
Richie Mills, Brighton reporter for Sussex Live, has covered Bissouma week in and week out over the past few seasons to football.london thought who better to get the expertise on midfield strengths and weaknesses and much more. We asked him a series of questions about Tottenham’s new signing and here are his answers.
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What can Spurs fans expect from Yves Bissouma?
Spurs fans can expect one of the best ball winners in the game; a marauding, athletic midfielder who can go from box to box, and he is capable of the odd astonishing goal. He is mostly right-handed, prefers short passes to long ones, and is very skilled at chasing from behind to launch an attack. His dribbling and close ball control have also made leaps and bounds. When he joined Brighton in 2018 he showed flashes of genius 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] figured out when to cover, release, pressure, and then you can see his qualities. His high-end actions are Champions League level. I think you’ve seen the full range of his qualities.”
What are its weaknesses?
Because the defensive part of his game is so good, some of his shortcomings aren’t a big deal. If he could iron them out, he would be world class. His shooting success is quite low, his long-range passing could be worked on and he tends to pick up too many yellow cards.
He picked up 10 bookings last season which means he missed three games in total. Graham Potter said it was a part of his game that Brighton wanted to work on, but it could be something of a double-edged sword.
“It’s something he can improve on and something we can improve on because that number (10) is too high for the games he’s played in, I think that’s fair to say,” Potter said. in April. “I think he would say the same thing, but at the same time it’s a fine line because you know he’s that type of player, and it’s important that he has that physicality and that intensity in these defensive situations. You just have to time it wrong or something happens, and that can be a yellow card, and that’s something we can do better to help him.”
Conte demands a high work rate from his players for 90 minutes and very high fitness levels, will he be able to handle this?
In terms of fitness, Bissouma has proven to be one of Brighton’s fittest players. It was very rare to see him on his feet and he often spearheaded his team’s efforts to get them back in a game or back 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 end of last season he formed a great partnership with Brighton team-mate Moises Caicedo. They were outstanding in the 1-0 win over Tottenham last season, with the pair acting as something of a double act. When one advanced, the other covered, and vice versa. Bissouma was a fan favorite with the Seagulls and his teammates love him.
Brighton kitman Alex Burrows had this to say about him in 2020: “Guys always come in and ask for tracks too, they’re a great band. I have to say Yves Bissouma is one of the coolest people funniest people I’ve met. He’ll be in the office chatting with someone in French on Facetime, then he’ll move on to me and vice versa – he’s got a good laugh!”