The clamour for Yves Bissouma to sign for Arsenal this season has been the loudest of any from the fanbase, despite there being a growing contingent who object to the idea. Whatever side of the fence one may sit on, Brighton have hinted that they’re prepared for the inevitable.
What ilk of midfielder do Arsenal need? A destroyer? A Thomas Partey-esque replica to balance duties? An attack-minded No. 8? A possession-based option with advanced technical ability? Well, they could plump for a variety of options to complement the Ghanaian, depending on what Mikel Arteta prefers.
In among all the countless links, Bissouma is still a Seagull, still available and still superbly talented.
A player who Arsenal have been tracking for over a year now, following another outstanding season with Graham Potter’s side the Malian was deemed the hot property of this summer transfer window with fellow Premier League side Liverpool also monitoring his case.
Arsenal: Brighton take Yves Bissouma future step with signing of Enock Mwepu from Red Bull Salzburg as possible transfer replacement
The Gunners were expected to make their feelings known formally, only to opt for a different Brighton man, Ben White.
Will they still go in for Bissouma? The interest remains as widely reported, even if other targets are more heavily linked of late.
The issue of having next to no options in central midfield when AFCON comes around should the 24-year-old arrives still requires careful consideration (there is a disagreement between Bissouma and the Malian FA), but Potter appears to have taken a step towards planning for the coming season by bringing in Red Bull Salzburg’s Enock Mwepu for no less than £18m.
Mwepu and Bissouma certainly could play together. The Zambian is a utility player with incredible potential, who featured as a box-to-box option, defensive midfielder and on the right for Salzburg last season.
Those two as a partnership is exciting even without being a Brighton fan. Yet with Moisés Caicedo on board as Bissouma’s long-term replacement, the speculation can begin over that outlay signalling an acceptance of, at least, bids incoming.
Arsenal have been credited with wanting Premier League proven quality in their team, and especially in a position where they need someone to hit the ground running, Bissouma remains the experienced, young(ish) and accessible option.
It would bestow a different role on Partey, one with an additional creative burden, but eagle-eyed supporters will point to Bissouma’s time at Lille where he was released of his defensive shackles to a much greater degree.
He wants to join Arsenal, he’s still got friends at Arsenal. Is this an invitation to strike?