Yves Bissouma to Tottenham: How £25m signing can take Antonio Conte’s midfield to the next level

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There was a time when Yves Bissouma was being touted as the new Paul Pogba, but the player Tottenham are signing more resembles N’Golo Kante now.

Bissouma drew comparisons to Pogba during his time at Lille, who he joined as a teenager in 2016, due to his physique and ability to drive forward from midfield. It is a tag he has never really been comfortable with, instead wanting to make a name for himself.

“It’s nice to be compared to Pogba but that’s just people talking,” Bissouma said last year. “I don’t like comparing myself to other players, I compare myself to myself, because I try to be better than myself.”

Bissouma has certainly forged a strong reputation for himself since moving to Brighton, so much so that Spurs are ready to part with nearly £30million to make him their third summer arrival.

The 25-year-old is a big signing for Spurs and, while he may not like the idea of another comparison, it is impossible not to see the similarities between him and Chelsea’s Kante.

Both bring relentless energy, pressing the ball high up the pitch and breaking down opposition attacks. Unsurprisingly, data from WhoScored shows Bissouma was ranked first in the Premier League for tackle completion percentage last season, with Kante a close second.

Dynamism is something Antonio Conte wants to add to his midfield. Rodrigo Bentancur offers control, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg brings strength and, while Oliver Skipp does add some athleticism, it is not on the same level as Bissouma, who also offers a goal threat.

To play in Conte’s midfield is exceptionally demanding, given that his 3-4-3 formation has two wing-backs who are encouraged to get forward. The central midfielders have to cover a lot of ground, both offensively and defensively.

Kante did it exceptionally well under Conte when Chelsea won the Premier League in 2016-17 and Bissouma should be able to fulfil a similar role in this Spurs team.

Yves Bissouma excelled against Tottenham last season, catching Antonio Conte’s eye (Getty Images)
Yves Bissouma excelled against Tottenham last season, catching Antonio Conte’s eye (Getty Images)

“When you have N'Golo in your team, you can think you are playing with one player more,” Conte has said previously. “You can find a smile on his face every day. He is a very positive guy. He is one of the best players I have had in my career as a coach.”

Bissouma has changed a lot from the player who joined Brighton in 2018. Graham Potter has had a huge influence on him, with the Mali international describing him as being like a father figure.

Potter has improved Bissouma tactically and developed his game into an all-action midfielder who has the ability to boss games. Tottenham fans saw that first hand as arguably two of his best performances last season came at Spurs, one in the FA Cup and the other in the Premier League.

Graham Potter has improved Bissouma tactically and developed his game into an all-action midfielder who has the ability to boss games

Bissouma also impressed during Brighton’s win at Arsenal, who were one of several clubs to scout him over the past few years. Tottenham were the only club to really firm up their interest this summer, though, and his desire to play in the Champions League has been key.

Bissouma has spoken publicly of his hunger to play in the competition and test himself against the best. Now he will get the chance to do that as Spurs continue their exciting summer recruitment drive.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting