Tottenham Hotspur are very close to completing a deal for Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma. The 25-year-old midfielder is all set to make the switch from the South Coast of England to the Capital, and the deal should be completed any day now. Ever-reliable journalist Fabrizio Romano has stated that a fee of €29 million-plus add-ons has been agreed between the two clubs, and a medical has been scheduled for the Mali international.
Bissouma will become the third transfer of the summer for Tottenham and will be a very crucial one as manager Antonio Conte looks to solve a big issue in their midfield. The Lilywhites have been lacking a commanding personality and talent in their midfield for a few years now, and Conte has solved that problem with the shrewd acquisition of the Brighton midfielder.
The Malian’s skills and talent have been well established since his move to the Premier League from Ligue 1 back in 2018. Then he was an unknown quantity among the English fans, but since then he has blossomed into an ace midfielder, cementing his place in the Brighton starting lineup. His performances have caught the eye of many top European clubs, with manager Graham Potter even admitting that Bissouma’s displays were Champions League level when the Seagulls defeated Spurs 1-0 in April.
Antonio Conte had identified his midfield as one of the biggest areas the team could improve, with the department deficient of a strong, physical and technically sound midfielder ever since Moussa Dembele left the club in 2019. Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg was brought in by Nuno Espirito Santos to fill that gap and although the Dane has been solid at times, he has not been the perfect replacement.
Yves Bissouma has all the qualities to become that midfielder for Spurs, and can provide a calming presence in the Tottenham midfield. He is comfortable on the ball, and while not involved much in goalscoring, he has the ability to set things in motion with his passing and vision. Graham Potter has often used Bissouma in a more reserved role, as an anchor to the defence and breaking up opposition plays, and it is a role in which the midfielder is now adept. He has developed a knack of reading opposition game and intercepting passes in the middle of the pitch. Being a proven player in the Premier League, as well as a midfielder that possesses the ideal height, physicality, and engine to cover each area of the pitch, the Mali international has all the attributes that Spurs need.
The 25-year-old also displays some of Dembele’s inherent qualities when he is pressed. Bissouma, with his quick turn of pace, is able to get away even with the slightest drop of the shoulder. While the Mali midfielder does not have the same attacking and creativity output as Dembele, he will be encouraged to go forward more in a Tottenham midfield that also contains the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur and highly-rated youngster Oliver Skipp. With Brighton, Bissouma has often played in the middle of a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-2-1 formation, which is why it is no surprise that Conte picked him to be his ideal recruitment. The Malian is already well-established in a formation and tactical setup similar to that of the Italian coach, meaning he will need lesser time to settle in.
Conte’s side improved gradually over the course of last season, with the midfield also getting up to pace with the setup eventually. However, that meant that the Spurs had to fight for the top 4 spot right until the last day, and it was hardly a comfortable ride. A strong midfield for next season could be the deciding factor between a Champions League spot and a Europa League or lower spot, with the rest of the league also spending big on strengthening themselves.
Bissouma’s acquisition is a fantastic piece of business by Spurs, in a crucial time where the manager has begged to be backed in the window. In today’s world of inflated market prices, the North London side have a bargain in their hands – at this price, getting a top Premier League experienced hybrid of a DM and CM – he’s going to be the N’Golo Kante to Conte’s Tottenham in that pivot.