Yves Bissouma: Enjoy him while you can Brighton fans - Liverpool and Manchester United are poised
True greatness is very rarely seen in a Brighton shirt, writes Scott McCarthy of wearebrighton.com
The Albion may have been lucky to have players who dominated divisions and they have picked up the odd fallen genius who struggled with injuries towards the end of their stellar career, but to watch a player who looks like he will go onto be world class is something that has hardly happened in the club’s 120 year existence.
Take Anthony Knockaert for example. On his day he was unplayable in the Championship. Once Brighton reached the Premier League though, he was found out slightly.
There is a significant difference between tearing apart the full backs of Burton Albion and Rotherham United and doing the same to full internationals in the top flight, as we sadly saw with Knockaert.
How about Bobby Zamora? 31 goals in back-to-back promotion seasons were followed by 15 in the second tier before he departed to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2003.
Zamora did eventually establish himself as a Premier League regular with West Ham United, Fulham and QPR and he went onto play for England. He was never world class, but he is about as close to greatness as Brighton players tend to get.
Then there are the likes of Vicente and Adam Lallana. Two individuals who won honours at the highest level and who Albion supporters have been lucky enough to watch because Brighton were willing to take a risk on their injury records. And as good as both may have been in the blue and white, their best days were behind them.
All of this is what makes Yves Bissouma so special. The midfielder is a wonderful talent dominating games at the highest level. Unlike with Knockaert and Zamora, there is no step-up to make to prove himself. He is already doing it week in, week out in the Premier League.
At 24, he is only going to get better. If a midfielder hits his peak between the ages of 27 and 29, then Bissouma is still three years away from the prime of his career. How about that for a scary thought?
Nothing summed up Bissouma’s talents better than a two minute spell in Monday night’s borefest against Everton. At one end of the pitch, he was producing a physics-defying bicycle kick which the Toffees were lucky to see drop onto the roof of their net.
Fast forward 120 seconds and he was back in his own box, nicking the ball off the foot of James Rodriquez with a perfectly timed tackle just as the Everton forward was about to pull the trigger. Bissouma makes things happen in attack at the same time as being able to carry out vital interventions in defence.
The only thing missing from his game is goals. He has scored four times in 89 Brighton appearances, all of which have come from outside the box. If he can just get himself into good positions inside the area and start netting more frequently, then he would be on the verge of becoming a genuinely world class box-to-box midfielder.
English football seems to be waking up to that fact. Gary Lineker tweeted on Monday night that Bissouma was exceptional. Jamie Carragher said a club should pay top dollar for him this summer, adding that he is too good for long-term admirers Arsenal. A Brighton player being considered too good for Arsenal would have been unheard of even three years ago.
It seems implausible that Brighton will keep Bissouma into next season. At Manchester United, he would be a more-invested version of Paul Pogba who actually puts the effort in to play football. Liverpool look like they might have a Georginio Wijnaldum sized hole to fill with the Dutch midfielder still yet to agree a new contract to remain at Anfield.
The only question now is how much Brighton can get for Bissouma before he moves onto the next stage of his career. £50 million? £60 million? Maybe even more. The mind boggles. Whatever the fee, it is going to far outstrip the Albion’s current incoming transfer record of the £15 million Fulham paid for Knockaert.
There are seven games left of the 2020-21 season, which probably means we are into the final 630 minutes of Bissouma in a Brighton shirt. Enjoy every second, because players of his quality do not come along very often.
True greatness is very rarely seen in a Brighton shirt, but Bissouma is it. Make the most of him whilst you can.
Article courtesy of: www.wearebrighton.com