Yves Bissouma is the midfield monster the Arsenal fanbase are desperate to see the club sign this summer. It’s no surprise given everytime he plays against the Gunners he physically dominates and shines a light on the lack of dynamism currently at Mikel Arteta’s disposal.
While the Mali international is the subject of interest far and wide, 90min reports that Arsenal are in pole position to capture the 24-year-old.
Brighton are expected to demand a significant fee for the player who has two years remaining on his current deal. But is he the right man for Arsenal to be splashing out on during a window in which funds are almost certainly going to be limited?
He’d undoubtedly be an upgrade on the current options and with Granit Xhaka edging closer towards an exit there is a need for somebody who can slot straight in alongside Thomas Partey. However, Bissouma’s suitability to the left central midfield position at the Emirates is dependent on how they wish to play.
If Arteta is in the market for a similar player to the departing Swiss, Ruben Neves, another with whom the Gunners are heavily linked, would certainly be a better fit. One of the major issues many fans had with Xhaka was his lack of mobility and while that particular shortcoming isn’t as apparent in the Wolves man, he certainly won’t add the same workmanlike qualities Bissouma can.
An ability to pick up the ball from the centre-backs when under pressure is essential given Arteta’s preferred playing style and you wouldn’t necessarily think that to be the Brighton star’s biggest strength.
Taking that into consideration, if Bissouma was to arrive with a view to him partnering Partey, the boss may be forced into rethinking the way in which the team looks to progress the ball from the defence into midfield and beyond.
There’s no reason as to why Bissouma couldn’t adapt but if you’re throwing in excess of £35m at a player, you’d want to be sure he’s the right fit. The big question is whether his physical superiority and the benefits that come with that outweigh the concerns and on balance, you’d have to say they probably would.
Arteta is also likely to say goodbye to both Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira permanently this summer and so finances permitting, Bissouma may not be the only midfielder to walk through the doors at London Colney.
While the acquisition of Bissouma would be a win in the transfer market, he brings a different skillset and therefore a slight adaptation to Arsenal’s go-to patterns of play with a greater focus on functionality would be necessary in order to get the best out of him.
Having said that, given the club’s lowly league position last season, there will be very few in opposition to Arteta trying something new.