Graham Potter feels Liverpool target Yves Bissouma has the qualities needed to play in any midfield in the world – and has offered no guarantees the player will stay at Brighton beyond this summer.
The Malian midfielder has made a big impact on the south coast since a £15m switch from Lille in 2018. Bissouma turned in another fine display on Tuesday night as Brighton claimed a 0-0 draw at Chelsea. They were unfortunate not to grab all three points.
Bissouma has been linked with a summer move to Arsenal, while Liverpool too have also been mentioned. The Reds are in the market for a new all-action midfielder with Georginio Wijnaldum due to depart.
And while a host of names have been mentioned, transfer expert Duncan Castles claims Bissouma is Jurgen Klopp’s No 1 target.
“Bissouma’s contract runs until 2023, so he’s getting into that danger area for the club who holds his contract,” Castles said. “If they don’t sell him in the coming summer, he starts moving into the second last year and transfer value reduces drastically.
“So Brighton will probably need to extend Bissouma’s contract or look seriously at any offers they receive for him.
“I think if you look at Liverpool, it’s clear that Bissouma is being thought of as an option to replace Gini Wijnaldum. That’s if he leaves under freedom of contract at the end of the season.
“He’s a similar type of player, performs a similar type of role. But he’s much younger, you mentioned the statical high rating at present. We know that’s one of the filters that Liverpool use before presenting to Jurgen Klopp as options for new signings.
“My understanding is that Klopp has done some work to ask questions about Bissouma to people who know him well.”
Now Seagulls boss Potter has addressed the interest in Bissouma. He claims the player is getting better all the time. Furthermore, he reckons the midfielder should not be afraid after seeing his name linked with Liverpool.
“He has certainly improved,” Potter said. “The exciting thing for Yves is he can improve some more. He’s not at the top. But he’s got incredible potential and incredible talent.
“He’s got the attributes to play midfield in any game in the world.”
Bissouma set to command a £40m fee
Reports have suggested that the Seagulls will allow Bissouma to move on if a sizeable offer comes their way. With two years left on his deal come the summer, that value will start to dwindle over time.
As such, the Daily Express report Brighton will accept an offer in the region of £40m.
Potter, while saying nothing about a fee, has given Liverpool hope over a deal by admitting they would not stand in his way were an exciting offer come in.
“Like any player, we have to be honest and sensible enough to know that if a player is good enough to play at that level and has that opportunity, then we shouldn’t be scared of that,” he added.
“Clearly there’s a consequence to that in terms of transfer fees, etc etc. That’s out of my control.
“At the same time, Yves is happy. He’s enjoying his football, he enjoys his life. He knows he’s in an environment here that people care for him, that look after him and want the best for him.
“He’s in a really good position. He’s not perfect, he’s not the finished article, he’s still got things to improve. That’s really exciting for me as a coach.
“We’re obviously delighted he’s with us. That should be exciting for him as well because he’s not finished yet.”