Liverpool hand Arsenal advantage in race to complete Yves Bissouma transfer

Yves Bissouma has emerged as one of Arsenal’s key summer transfer targets (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool will not enter the race to sign Brighton’s Yves Bissouma this summer, despite confirmation of Gini Wijnaldum’s decision to depart the club.

The Netherlands international bid an emotional farewell to Anfield following last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace that helped cement Champions League qualification.

Wijnaldum has been an integral part of the success Liverpool have enjoyed under Jurgen Klopp, but after failing to agree terms on a new deal, the 30-year-old is set to join Barcelona as a free agent.

Despite such a significant departure, Klopp is confident the gap can be plugged with existing squad members, according to The Athletic.

The German is said to have faith in teenager Curtis Jones who is likely to play a more prominent role next season while, despite reports to the contrary, Klopp has no intention of selling Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of whom were reduced to bit-part roles last term due to injuries.

Jurgen Klopp is confident Curtis Jones will step up next season (Picture: Getty)

Harvey Elliott, too, is set to return from a hugely encouraging loan spell at Blackburn, while Jordan Henderson’s impending return to full fitness is likely to negate the need to replace Wijnaldum with a new signing.

Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked with a move, meanwhile, for Bissouma, but Arsenal appear to be in pole position at present.

Mikel Arteta is keen to reshape his midfield engine room this summer and Arsenal are likely to accelerate those plans by allowing Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira to depart, while both Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard will return to Real Madrid.

Asked if he could give assurances about Bissouma’s future after Brighton’s defeat against Arsenal last weekend, Brighton manager Graham Potter said: ‘Not really. He’s contract with us. As far as I know he’s going to report to pre-season like everyone else.

‘But it’s football. Like anything, in the summer we have to make some good decisions and improve the football club.’

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