If reports are to be believed, then there is about to be a queue around the block for Brighton’s midfield engine Yves Bissouma.
The 24-year-old, a £15m signing from Lille in 2018, has taken his time getting to grips with the Premier League. But he’s hit the ground running in his third season, to the extent that he is rightly considering his options ahead of the summer transfer window.
As it stands, though, it’s the Reds’ interest that seems the most substantial. Jurgen Klopp has been keeping a close eye on his development, and has personally been looking into whether he would fit into his squad.
The idea is to replace Georginio Wijnaldum, who looks increasingly set to leave on a free transfer once his contract expires. And while it’s hard for anyone looking in to determine whether he has the personality to fill the void left by the beloved Dutchman, his attributes certainly seem to fit the bill.
There is an argument to be made that Liverpool’s weakness over the past few seasons has been a lack of goals and creativity from midfield. And while that may need to be addressed at some stage, their main focus has to be on replacing Wijnaldum’s ball-retention abilities.
Liverpool play with such a high-risk system that losing the ball in midfield can leave them exposed. That’s why Wijnaldum has been such a valuable player; he almost never gives the ball away, even when under intense pressure.
Bissouma has mirrored that composure in possession more and more often for Brighton as the season has gone on. He’s a strong dribbler with a low centre of gravity who rarely picks the wrong pass; his completion rate of 87% is bettered only by Lewis Dunk among Brighton’s regular starters.
He does the defensive work – his 2.8 tackles per game this season betters the tally of any Liverpool player – but marries it with a technical ability that rivals almost any player outside the Premier League‘s big six.
It’s that diverse range of skills that makes him such a coveted asset, and sets him apart from the rest of the midfielders at Liverpool’s disposal. Jordan Henderson is the workhorse, Thiago is the playmaker, Fabinho is the out and out No.6.
But Bissouma can do a little bit of everything – and that explains why Klopp seems to be looking very closely at a potential deal.
He’s the type of player Liverpool have gone for in the past, at a similar age and standing within the game to Wijnaldum when he arrived at Anfield back in 2015.
With a reported asking price of £30m, he ticks nearly every box for an FSG signing, and has all the attributes required to fill the sizeable gap which is set to be left behind.