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Yves Bissouma all but rules out Arsenal transfer with “dream” admission


Bissouma shone in Brighton’s win over Leicester at the weekend following a summer filled with speculation over his future as a number of top clubs eyed a transfer

Yves Bissouma is keen to play in the Champions League but is happy at Brighton
Yves Bissouma is keen to play in the Champions League but is happy at Brighton

Brighton star Yves Bissouma has admitted his “dream” is to play in the Champions League but is still content with life on the south coast for the time being.

The midfielder was hot property towards the back end of last season as some of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ showed interest in signing him.

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Bissouma was being touted as a potential replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool, while his name was suggested to help shore up Manchester United’s midfield.

Both Tottenham and Arsenal also expressed an interest in the 25-year-old Malian, though any hopes the Gunners have of signing him anytime soon may have been dashed by his latest comments.

Bissouma impressed during Brighton’s win over Leicester
(

Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

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“I didn’t go this summer, maybe its because it’s not my time to go,” Bissouma told Brighton’s website.

“When my time will come, it’s my time, but I’m happy in Brighton, I’m enjoying playing football.

“My dream is like every player, I want to play in the Champions League, I want to be champions. I want to compare myself on the top level, not just with other players.”

Arsenal could find it difficult to muscle their rivals out of a potential deal for Bissouma, given their current exodus from European competition, especially as their academy chief Per Mertesacker admitted they are still two-three years away from Champions League football.

They do have one positive in their camp, having signed Bissouma’s former team-mate Ben White this summer and building decent relations with Brighton from the deal.

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However, the Seagulls’ boss Graham Potter is not expecting his midfield maestro to be going anywhere anytime soon.

“It feels like they’ve been asked for the last few months, so we’re used to it,” he said.

“But it’s good, if you’re getting that talk then he’s doing something well, we’re doing something well.

“He’s enjoying his football. You can’t control what people say from the outside, it’s talk, but he’s happy with us and we will keep working with him.”

Bissouma was virtually ever-present for his team last season, racking up 36 appearances in the Premier League alone, and has so far featured in all five of their fixtures this term.

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Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was particularly impressed with the Brighton star during his side’s 2-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Goals from Neal Paupay (P) and Danny Welbeck were enough to grab all three points despite Jamie Vardy’s strike just past the hour, but it was Bissouma who caught Rodgers’ eye.

“I think he is a top player he does a great job defensively, he can press the game, he is aggressive, he intercepts, he blocks, he tries to get them on the front foot,” Rodgers said, via The Argus.

“Physically he has good physicality, he gets around the pitch, he is mobile, agile and tactically he looks strong around the game.

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“He utilises empty space and technically he is very good, he touches the ball, he passes it, and has good awareness of space.

“So, I said when I first saw him come into the team I really liked him and since then he has developed and improved and is a top-class player in that area of the field.”

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