Transfer Talk: Brilliant Bissouma braced for United audition
Yves Bissouma has gained many plaudits during his time at Brighton and is being linked with a move away from the South Coast this summer.
Coming off the back of another brilliant display against Wolves last weekend, the Mali international has been touted as a Manchester United target ahead of Erik ten Hag's arrival at Old Trafford.
Ahead of the Seagulls' clash with the Red Devils on Saturday, we take a look at what Bissouma can bring to United’s much-maligned midfield.
Bissouma has been pivotal in Brighton's rise under Graham Potter, with the Seagulls set for a top-half Premier League finish despite their limited funds.
The 25-year-old arrived from French outfit Lille in 2018 on a five-year deal that is set to expire next summer.
With only a year left on his contract, a host of elite European powerhouses will be keen to secure his services in a cut-price swoop and the Amex club will not want to risk losing him on a free.
The 25-cap international has played consistently well this season and has helped his team pull off notable results against top sides, proving that he can compete at the highest level.
Red Devils restructure
United have failed to live up to expectations once again this season and currently sit sixth in the league, five points off the Champions League places.
Donny van de Beek’s £35million transfer from Ajax in the summer of 2020 was the last time a central midfielder signed for the Red Devils, with the previous engine room acquisition being Fred’s arrival in 2018.
United have overlooked bolstering this position in recent years — instead opting for more forward-thinking options such as Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. They have paid the price this season, often overrun in central areas.
Nemanja Matic has recently confirmed his departure from the club this summer, with Paul Pogba also likely to move on with his contract expiring at the end of the season.
This paves the way for the arrival of new options in central midfield, with Bissouma fitting the profile that United desperately need.
Bissouma’s recent performances in Brighton’s superb victories over North London rivals Arsenal and Spurs on the road demonstrated his ability to dominate the midfield on the big stage.
His imposing presence means he functions at the core of the Seagulls' side and thrives in Potter's system, in which the fundamentals include pressing off the ball and retaining possession.
Ten Hag’s system is also possession-based, offensive football that requires high pressure off the ball.
Bissouma has made 71 tackles this season, ranking seventh-highest among all midfielders in the division (minimum 648 minutes played) and fifth for interceptions (49).
To suit his system, Ten Hag will be targeting players that embrace composure and balance on the ball in the mould of a typical Ajax midfielder.
Bissouma's pass map highlights that the majority of his uncompleted passes against the top six have been longer balls and he tends to keep things neat and tidy as opposed to being adventurous.
Nevertheless, his pass completion rate (89.3%) is the 10th highest in the league and therefore he can be trusted to be a reliable cog in the system.
In terms of defensive ability and work rate, there are not many deep-lying central midfielders in the league that can match Bissouma’s quality.
He does not offer much offensively, having only registered one goal and one assist in the top flight this season but every team needs a player that can break up play excellently and keep things ticking over in possession.
Ten Hag currently has rising star Ryan Gravenberch playing in the holding midfield role alongside Davy Klaassen at Ajax and switches between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, while Potter also deploys variations of a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Playing under the Dutchman seems to be the perfect fit for Bissouma if he is to leave this summer.