Bissouma says chance to play Champions League football lured him from Brighton to Spurs

Yves Bissouma said that he was already dreaming of playing in the Champions League for Tottenham Hotspur and hearing the competition’s music.

The midfielder completed his move from Brighton and Hove Albion today (Friday 17 June), signing a four-year deal for a £25 million fee, which could increase with add-ons.

Bissouma is the third addition made by Spurs since they secured their place back in Europe’s elite tournament with a fourth-place finish in the Premier League, beating relegated Norwich City 5-0 on the final day of last season.

Excitement is building at the north London club about a return to the Champions League, having finished runners-up in 2019, and their new signing cannot wait to hear the anthem in person for the first time.

Bissouma told Spurs TV: “When I was young, football was my life. I wanted to play football every day, every moment. If I don’t play football, I am not happy.

“Now to be a football professional, to be at Spurs, a big club, when I remember 11 or 12 years ago, it gives me some sensations. My mum and dad are here as well and they help me a lot.

“To be here in London, with Spurs, and the Champions League music, imagine? The emotion is too much. I just say thank you to God.

“It is my dream to play Champions League. When I was younger, I remember watching the Champions League every day and I can’t believe to play Champions League for Spurs. I am so happy.”

While Bissouma has spent the past four years in England with Brighton, where he established himself as one of the best midfielders in the country, as recently as 2016 the 25-year-old was plying his trade in the Mali domestic league and remembers growing up playing barefoot in the streets.

He said: “It was really hard because in Africa we don’t have the opportunities like here.

“For example, when I was younger my dad, my mum, they just work to help us, but if you want to play football they don’t have money to buy you shoes, so we just play on the streets with friends, no shoes, but we enjoyed this moment because I was young and my friends as well.

“It was one part of my life I was happy for because, when I remember this, I just say I have come so far.”

The signing of Bissouma will provide competition in midfield to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur and Oliver Skipp, with the futures of Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso all uncertain.

The Mali international is the third signing of the summer for Spurs after they secured the services of Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster earlier in the transfer window.

Spurs boss Antonio Conte was keen to build a squad capable of challenging in the Premier League and Champions League, and the former Brighton ace is eager to work with the Italian.

Bissouma said: “I am going to try to help the team. We have a good group and a good coach as well. He is a great coach. Everyone knows him.

“I can pass this (next) step with him and I know he is going to help me more to be what I want to be. I try to help the team as well, so I am very happy.”

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