The signing of Yves Bissouma is significant for Tottenham Hotspur as a genuine sign of the club’s intent to fight for more than a top-four finish in 2022-23.
When the season ended, and fans started dreaming about the summer transfer window, an additional defensive midfielder was not likely high on the list. However, by adding a player capable of competing with Pierre Hojberg, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Oliver Skipp, Tottenham Hotspur becomes a better team, more prepared for the rigours of an extensive campaign ahead.
Tottenham is going from strength to strength in the midfield
The Tottenham midfield was a significant part of Spurs success and a major part of a few slides in the standings last season. During the first half of the season, Hojbjerg and Skipp were learning each other and two different systems as Nuno Espirito Santo left and Antonio Conte arrived at N17.
During the second half of the season, Skipp was out, and Bentancur shared the duties with Hojbjerg.
A Spurs fan could argue if Skipp were healthy, the team could have finished above Chelsea in third. Alternatively, the team could be preparing for Europa League if Hojbjerg or Bentancur picked up a serious knock down the stretch.
The point is the margins in the middle were razor-thin for Spurs last season. In adding a player like Bissouma, Director of Football Fabio Paratici has turned a position of strength into possibly the best defensive midfield room in England.
Although not the apparent priority when the window started, signing Bissouma, with even just a little reflection, one can see the intelligence in signing the Mali midfielder.
The deal’s merits are even better if the €29m fee plus add-ons reported by Fabrizio Romano is accurate.
According to transfermarkt.com, Bissouma is valued at about €37m, and still only 25; Bissouma likely will still have value at the end of what is supposed to be a five-year deal for the midfielder.
Was the move to sign Bissouma somewhat precipitated by the World Cup?
Beyond having some quality, first-team depth in the midfield, adding Bissouma gives Conte a little extra coverage around the World Cup. Hojbjerg and Bentancur will likely log big minutes for Denmark and Uruguay, meaning Spurs will need extra cover before and after the international tournament.
Left-back, right-wing-back and some attacking support are still priorities, but not at the expense of a more balanced and prepared squad. Some clubs may look at the Bissouma move and say they do not need the extra depth, but history tells us otherwise. If we want Spurs to compete for titles, Paratici and Conte are showing how it is done.