Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma this summer.
The Lowdown: Villa ready to try again
Villa tried to sign the Mali international from Brighton in January, but couldn’t quite get the deal over the line.
The West Midlands side have already added Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara to their ranks for next season, and will be plotting a high-spending summer to improve their chances of competing for European football in the coming years.
The Latest: Villa still interested despite Kamara arrival
The aforementioned arrival of Kamara has not affected Villa’s transfer plans for Bissouma, as per 90min.
The club now have a number of options in midfield but it is still felt that the 25-year-old would be an upgrade on what the club already have in this department.
The Malian’s contract at the AMEX Stadium runs out in 12 months, meaning that interested clubs may be able to acquire the £31.5m-rated man at a cut-price, with Brighton not wanting to risk losing him for free.
The Verdict: An improvement on what Villa have
Villa are not desperate for another midfielder numbers-wise, but it would seem that Bissouma would be an upgrade on most of their current options in this department.
Former Villa player Lee Hendrie has heaped praise on the 25-year-old and hopes that his former club sign him
“I mean, his [Bissouma’s] stats are absolutely phenomenal, the way he breaks the game up, his forward play,” said Hendrie.
“He’s got a good football brain.”
“Like I said, when you’ve got someone who breaks the game up so well and can go join in and play, I’m inviting players like that to the football club.”
When compared with his fellow midfielders at Villa, in Kamara, Douglas Luiz and John McGinn, the Mali international compares favourably.
He is an impressive passer of the ball, and has a completion rate of 89.7% of attempted passes this season, according to FBref.
Only Kamara of Villa’s midfielders has a better completion rate, coming in at 90.8%.
Though his 50 successful tackles this season is less than both Kamara (55) and McGinn (61) according to the same stats provider, it must be taken into account that the Brighton midfielder took part in eight and nine fewer games than these two respectively.
Though he may be a strong option for Villa in the defensive aspect of midfield, attacking-wise he may not be the best option, with all three of Villa’s other first-choice midfielders making more progressive distance with their passing this season, and making more shot-creating actions.
He may not be the most productive attacking wise, but Bissouma would be an excellent addition in covering those gaps and making the tackles in midfield in order to get Steven Gerrard’s side moving in the middle of the park.