Brighton vs Everton: Why Yves Bissouma is simply too good to ignore
In the past few weeks it’s very likely Graham Potter has answered as many questions on Yves Bissouma as Nuno Espirito Santo has on Harry Kane.
Bissouma’s excellent display against Watford last week ensured that continued and all Potter could do was nod patiently and reel out the tried and tested line of, “Yes, he is excellent. Yes, he is currently our player and Yes, we want to see him enjoy his football with us.”
Bissouma, 25, is probably as important to Brighton as Kane is to Tottenham and fans will hope the Mali international remains at the Amex Stadium for another season.
He’s certainly not playing in a manner that suggests his he wants to be elsewhere.
If anything his performances in the first two fixtures of the new season have gone up another level – he looks even better, more comfortable in his role. He knows he is Potter’s main man in the midfield and he is playing with the confidence that reflects that.
It’s no exaggeration to say, Bissouma is the best player I have seen at Brighton since... well, forever really.
He reads the game, he has power and passing ability. He could play for any team in world football and bids will no doubt arrive in excess of £50 million between now and the end of the transfer window.
If Brighton can keep him for another season, it will be a remarkable effort from the club. And remember, with the £50m Ben White money tucked in the bank, Albion are under no pressure to sell. Another season could even see Bissouma’s transfer value increase further.
The main factors in their favour is that he is loved by everyone at the club, he is a vital part of Potter’s progressive team and he is happy in his day to day work. All that of course can disrupted by an over-eager agent and the offer of even greater riches and Champions League football.
The transfer window closes on Tuesday, August 31 at 11pm and until that time the official Albion line is: “Yes, he is excellent. Yes, he is currently our player and yes, we want to see him enjoy his football.”
Hopefully that enjoyment will continue against Rafa Benitez’s Everton at the Amex this Saturday as the standard of opposition cranks up a notch. So far Potter’s team have beaten a decent Burnley side at Turf Moor and then totally dominated a newly promoted Watford at the Amex.
Everton have invested heavily of late and their net spend of £536.5 million over the last five years is the fourth highest in the Premier League – behind only Man City, Man United and Chelsea.
Benitez and his talented squad have got off to a solid start with a 3-1 victory against Southampton followed by an entertaining 2-2 draw Leeds. Their new signing Demarai Gray looked very lively and his partnership with the excellent Dominic Calvert-Lewin has the potential to be quite lethal.
But Brighton are third in the league –albeit after table after just two matches – and have every reason to be confident. Back to back wins is all the more impressive as many of Potter’s players aren’t quite fully up to speed following a disrupted pre-season.
Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster have virtually used the first two matches to play themselves into match fitness. Shane Duffy received the man of the match award against Watford last week but Webster was probably Albion’s best defender on the pitch.
Webster is another player – who like Bissouma – looks more at ease with his role and is developing into a real leader on the pitch for Potter.
Joel Veltman, who was self-isolating last week has been ruled-out for Everton and Duffy will likely keep his place.
Dan Burn continues his recovery from a knee injury and remains unavailable while Neal Maupay, who has two goals in two games, injured his shoulder against Watford and will be assessed. Danny Welbeck remains hindered with his ongoing hamstring problem.