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There has been much to admire about the Graham Potter revolution that took place at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Since the former Swansea City manager was appointed in the summer of 2019, the Seagulls have transformed from a team that would score 1-0 victories to one that is capable of playing a brand of football that, in its day, can take on. . Head to head with the best teams in the Premier League.
Potter has dramatically reduced the team’s average age from being one of the eleven oldest starters in the Premier League to one of the youngest. And while he spent over £ 60 million in his first transfer window in charge, signing players like Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Neal Maupay, he has since relied heavily on bargain purchases like Tariq Lamptey, free transfers like Adam Lallana. and Danny. Welbeck and improving the players he inherited from Chris Hughton.
Of those Hughton players that Potter has stuck with, and there really aren’t that many, Yves Bissouma has been the most successful story.
In the last year, the Malian midfielder has gone from being a player who didn’t really have a role in the team to the first name on the team sheet. It’s no wonder the Big Six are getting very interested now.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked to a January move for Bissouma, something that would have been very likely a year ago. Bissouma has always been talented, but back then he couldn’t find a way Dale stephens, Davy Propper, Steve Alzate, Pascal Gross or Aaron Mooy in any of the midfield positions. No one was really sure where he fit in.
There were also questions about his attitude. Put it in the last third and it could be electric, facing players and looking for things to happen. Ask him to get involved in the hard, unglamorous work you were advocating for and didn’t seem interested; I’d keep track, but often halfway.
In Brighton’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City in February 2019, he fell back and made no attempt to make an inning as the Foxes threw the play that ended with Jamie Vardy putting them 2-0 ahead. The sight of Bissouma wandering around midfield as if on a Sunday stroll not caring for the world as Bournemouth scored five unanswered goals at Amex in April 2019 summed up his first season at the club, promising but needed to do a lot. more. if you want to succeed in the Premier League.
That was the sentiment among fans of LOSC Lille, the Ligue 1 team that Brighton paid £ 15 million for Bissouma’s services in the summer of 2018. Lille fans said that Bissouma had the ability to be so good. like Paul Pogba, as long as he resolved his behavior. and attitude.
Whether through a newfound maturity as he approaches his twenties or because Potter has put his mastery of leadership and emotional intelligence to good use, Bissouma has done exactly that and Brighton now encounters a player who threatens to be as good as the little fans predicted.
Bissouma’s first opportunity with Potter came in December 2019 when Stephens missed the suspended trip to Crystal Palace. Given Bissouma’s aforementioned disdain for defense and that he hadn’t displayed any of the discipline required to be a midfielder in his previous 18 months at Amex, he was a surprising choice to replace Stephens in Brighton’s biggest game of the season. .
However, Potter’s faith was wonderfully vindicated as Bissouma was one of the best players on the Selhurst Park field, covering every blade of grass while displaying his full range of talents on the ball.
There has been no turning back for Bissouma since that cold night in Croydon. He had shown Potter that not only did he possess the mentality to play the role of supporter, but he could also bring far greater dynamism to the team than the solid but unspectacular Stephens. A defensive midfielder like Bissouma who can read the game, tackle, carry the ball and pick a pass is worth his weight in gold in a possession system like Potterball.
Bissouma’s next challenge was to start performing performances of the standard that he had shown at Palace on a regular basis. There are no problems there; since blocking in particular, he has been Brighton’s best player with the slight exception of Lamptey. Look at all the key metrics for judging a midfielder – passing, recoveries, tackles, interceptions, and shots – and you’ll see Bissouma’s name near the top of the charts.
Bissouma has been so good in 2020/21 that Potter has even been able to deploy the number 10 alongside him in the center of the park at times this season, knowing that Bissouma’s work pace and ability can cover two traditional midfielders. Bissouma doing the jobs Stephens and Propper used to do with each other allows Potter to use Pascal Gross or Adam Lallana in a much deeper role where they can still focus on creating games, increasing the Seagulls’ creativity.
The only area where Bissouma’s game is lacking is goals. He has scored just three times in 66 appearances for Brighton and all of them have come from spectacular attacks from outside the box. It says a lot about his ability that the two goals he has scored in the Premier League, outside at Burnley on the final day of the 2019/20 season and at Everton in October, were both. nominated for goal of the month.
Bissouma rarely finds himself shooting inside the opponent’s penalty area. If he could find a way to add goals to his game by getting into better positions to score more often, then he would become one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the Premier League, and exactly the type of player all the Big Six they would yearn for, not just Liverpool and Arsenal.
It will take a huge money supply to award Bissouma from Brighton. The Seagulls don’t sell if they don’t want to, as the Ben White manhunt and annual transfer rumors surrounding Lewis Dunk’s next destination are testimony to that.
If Liverpool or Arsenal want Bissouma, they will need to find more than £ 50 million to secure his services. That figure would rise substantially if he started scoring goals on a regular basis. Based on his performances over the past year, he would be worth every penny.