Brighton will not sell Liverpool target Yves Bissouma for less than £40 million this summer, reports claim, as Jurgen Klopp considers options to replace Gini Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum is expected to be playing his final games for the Reds over the next month, with the Dutchman poised to leave on the expiry of his contract.
Despite there being a chance that Wijnaldum could still extend his stay on Merseyside, it seems unlikely that he will do so, with a possible free transfer to Barcelona on the horizon.
Given he is a first-choice starter, the 30-year-old will need to be replaced if he departs, and though there are candidates in-house such as Curtis Jones or even academy youngster Jake Cain, it is more feasible that Klopp will look to the transfer market.
One player touted with a move to Anfield is Brighton‘s Bissouma, with the Malian’s agent claiming in December that he had received “significant interest” in his client from a number of clubs including Liverpool.
Bissouma has continued to enhance his reputation as the standout performer for Brighton, and now The Athletic report that the Seagulls value their No. 8 at “over £40 million.”
“Owner-chairman Tony Bloom would not entertain letting Bissouma go for a fee of £40 million on the nose,” Andy Naylor, The Athletic’s Brighton correspondent, writes.
Naylor claims that Brighton are “‘very relaxed’ about the situation,” with there being “no pressure” to sell, and only “an ‘absolutely unbelievable bid'” would tempt them to part ways with the 24-year-old.
That could change, of course, if Brighton are relegated, with there still a possibility that they drop back down to the Championship following a 1-0 loss to Sheffield United on Saturday.
The Seagulls are currently 17th, seven points above 18th-placed Fulham with five games to play, while West Brom in 19th are 10 points behind but with a game in hand.
It would take a major swing for the bottom three to change at this stage, but relegation would likely force Brighton into selling their “No. 1 asset.”
With £40 million set as the starting bid, though, it can be argued that this would still be a reasonable fee for Liverpool as they look for Wijnaldum’s successor, particularly as Bissouma is already proven in the Premier League.
The Reds agreed a £45 million deal with Wolves to sign Diogo Jota last summer, and though the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a big blow to the club’s finances, the recent investment of RedBird Capital Partners into FSG is claimed to have levelled the playing field.