After securing their Premier League status in their first season back in the top flight, Brighton signed then 21-year-old Yves Bissouma from Lille for a £15m fee. Viewed as a highly promising, combative, technically adept midfielder, the Malian’s progress since has been tremendous.
Encouraging but inconsistent initially, Bissouma has really blossomed under Graham Potter, and is now an ever-present at the base of Brighton’s midfield. We identify what exactly makes Bissouma such an intriguing midfielder, and why he’ll soon get the attention he deserves:
Although Brighton’s system is very fluid, they primarily line up in a back five, with Bissouma sitting just in front.
All-action, robust, intelligent, and technical, Bissouma is tasked with breaking up play, recycling possession, and providing the link between front and back.
Bissouma covers ground excellently in the middle of the park, and uses his physicality and understanding of the game to constantly thwart opposition attacks.
Aggressive in the challenge and positionally intelligent, he makes a high number of tackles and interceptions.
After winning the ball, Bissouma often showcases his passing range, kickstarting attacks with cross-field switches and balls over the top.
Assured + confident on the ball and accurate in his distribution, he’s key to Brighton recycling and maintaining possession.
In an era of high pressing systems, midfielders that can receive the ball in tight spaces and evade pressure are highly desirable.
Bissouma anticipates the press, recognises open space, and often progresses the ball with quick bursts of pace and strong dribbling ability.
Although his role this season is slightly more reserved, Bissouma is still a massive threat when given the opportunity to get forward, especially when presented with a chance to shoot.
The midfielder possesses a rocket of a shot, and is not afraid to try his luck from distance.
Bissouma is also as crafty and inventive as he is effective and measured. He often pulls of moments of trickery, making him not only an assured and comfortable presence in midfield but an extremely entertaining watch.
Brighton are a side brimming with promising talent, but the nature of Bissouma’s game makes him arguably the most exciting of the lot. Whether at Brighton or beyond, the 24-year-old has all the tools necessary to become one of the best all-around midfielders in Europe.