By landing Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid in the summer, Arsenal made a huge step to transforming their midfield area under Mikel Arteta.
The Ghana international has already shown signs of developing into a really dominant figure in the Premier League side’s engine room, with Roy Keane even mentioning him in the same breath as Invincible, Patrick Vieira.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Brighton’s Yves Bissouma is another one of Arteta’s transfer targets in central midfield, and his performance against Tottenham on Sunday night was outstanding.
The Mali international was the driving force for the Seagulls as they beat Spurs, relishing the task of trying to win that all-important midfield battle. He made a game-high of six interceptions on the night, stepping in front of the likes of Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn countless times to win back possession for Graham Potter’s men – his tally was almost five times as many as his season average of 1.3.
The £25k-a-week earning Bissouma wasn’t just a massive presence defensively however, as he also showed extreme poise on the ball by taking Brighton through the gears with numerous surging runs.
He boasted an impressive 97% pass accuracy which comfortably bettered any other Brighton player on the pitch, as kept his composure whenever Spurs looked to up the ante and tried to press him.
Writing his post-match player ratings for The Argus, Brian Owen gave Bissouma an 8/10, saying: “Helped Albion get a stranglehold on proceedings, especially in the first half. Hassles others and is an assured recipient of passes deep in his own half.”
His former Brighton teammate, Dale Stephens, previously raved about Bissouma’s intriguing blend of qualities, saying: “He’s got the ability of perhaps a winger playing in central midfield with the way he can go past players. His feet are incredible and I’m sure he’s going to get better and better. He’s got everything you need to be a top player.”
His display against Spurs was every bit as good as Potter could have imagined, and surely would have had Edu, the Gunners’ technical director impressed. Partnering Bissouma’s superb defensive work with Partey’s industry could provide the ultimate midfield combination for Arteta’s desire to press from the front and really dominate opponents.
Partey could be the box-to-box presence in Arteta’s midfield two, with Bissouma doing the dirty work of screening the defence and moving the ball on to Arsenal’s attackers. It has all the ingredients to be a mouth-watering midfield partnership if Arsenal are able to turn their reported interest into a summer transfer.