Could Yves Bissouma be Liverpool’s next star?

There is no Premier League club, at least at the elite level, better than Liverpool at finding value in the transfer market. Consider how they paid a combined £70 million for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, two players who would cost at least that fee each. This summer saw the Reds pay £41 million for Diogo Jota, who has since scored nine goals in his first 15 appearances for the club. This isn’t to say the Anfield club don’t spend big, but when they do they tend to get value for their money – see Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool have a clear profile in mind when it comes to identifying transfer targets and Yves Bissouma is next on their radar according to recent reports.

Although Yves Bissouma might not immediately be a first team figure for Liverpool, it’s clear to see why the Premier League champions would be interested in him. The Malian is positionally sound and is technically adept on the ball. Bissouma offers Brighton a lot of energy through the centre of the pitch, but his game is a measured one.

The exit of Dale Stephens to Burnley in the summer and an injury to Davy Propper handed Bissouma the opportunity to take centre stage and the 24-year-old has made the most of that chance. The Seagulls have struggled for results this season, with the South coast side just two points off the relegation zone, but Bissouma has been a standout performer.

In the Premier League this season, Bissouma has won 27 of his 41 tackles. He has completed 204 pressures on the ball, while Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s best presser with 203 pressures this season. He has also completed 110 passes under pressure. Only Georginio Wijnaldum has completed more (110) for Liverpool this term.

Jota’s signing in the summer provides a template for any Liverpool pursuit of Yves Bissouma. The Portuguese forward was able to slot seamlessly into Klopp’s team because of how accustomed he was to playing in a similar system at Wolves. Bissouma would stand a similar chance of success due to the style of play Brighton play under Graham Potter.

“I have never been a coach that worries about losing a player,” the Brighton boss said when asked whether Bissouma could leave the Amex Stadium in January or at the end of the season. “If you worry about losing players to teams higher up the hierarchy – because that’s ultimately what it is – and the club think selling the player is the right thing to do, then it’s a result of doing something well.

“I don’t think you should ever worry about that. It’s part of football and a lot of it is talk, speculation or nonsense. There’s always truth as well somewhere, but I am not worried about anything. I am just helping the players to improve, to get them to the highest level of performance that I can and then we will see.”

Liverpool’s midfield is the one area of their team where most agree an improvement could be made. Wijnaldum is out of contract at the end of the season. Fabinho is one of the Reds’ most consistent players, but his long-term future could potentially be at centre back, where he has impressed recently. Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara has yet to find form and fitness since his summer switch from Bayern Munich.

Yves Bissouma is a slightly different player to Wijnaldum, but as a replacement for the Dutchman Liverpool could do a lot worse than the 24-year-old. A big part of recruitment is knowing who you are and the Anfield club have a tight grasp on this. This makes finding the right players easier and Bissouma ticks a lot of boxes for the Premier League champions.

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