Following the departure of Milan Skriniar to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, Inter Milan have secured the signature of a new young centre-back to reinforce their backline. Yann Aurel Bisseck has joined the Italian giants from Danish Superliga club Aarhus Gymnastikforening (AGF) for a reported fee of €7 million plus add-ons, with the 22-year-old penning a deal until 2028.
The young German defender adds energy and steel to Simone Inzaghi’s side as they attempt to build on their impressive 2022/23 campaign where the club won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, whilst finishing 3rd in Serie A and narrowly losing the UEFA Champions League final to treble-winners Manchester City. It will be difficult for the Milano side to improve on such a successful season, but revitalising the squad with youthful energy is certainly one way to go about it.
Bisseck is still just 22 years old and he has his best years ahead of him. The €7 million Inter Milan have invested in the Cologne-born centre-back could prove to be a bargain in the coming years should he realise his full potential. Bisseck is of Cameroonian descent, but was born and raised in Germany. As such, he has represented the German youth teams at multiple levels, most notably the U21 side which usually acts as the final step towards become a full international.
Bisseck came through FC Köln’s academy, being loaned out multiple times with little success before ultimately joining AGF on a permanent deal following a productive loan spell. This is where he finally bloomed as a player and was able to develop into the calibre of defender that could attract the interest of a club like Inter Milan. He went on to make 68 appearances for AGF in all competitions during his two seasons with the club, ultimately helping his team stave off relegation during his first season in Aarhus.
His second season is where he truly flourished. He anchored the Danish club’s strong defence, playing a major part in them conceding the fewest goals in the Danish Superliga during the 2022/23 season and assisting in his side’s 3rd place finish. This is ultimately how he earned his big move to Internazionale this summer and he’ll be hoping to elevate his performances in a higher-quality league.
Yann Aurel Bisseck is a colossus of a man, standing at 1.96m tall. However, he also possesses a rather muscular frame, much like fellow young German centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap. This gives him the size and strength to dominate his opponents as he is virtually always the largest outfield player on a football pitch. Unsurprisingly, Bisseck is especially dominant in the air, using his height and strength to win the vast majority of the aerial duels in which he contests, effectively discouraging the opposition from attempting lofted balls into his zone.
Despite his size, Bisseck possesses remarkable speed, especially over long distances. He glides across the football pitch with his long legs whilst simultaneously being a powerful runner, akin to Yaya Touré in his heyday. As such, Bisseck can operate comfortably as both the aggressor and the cover defender in the defensive line. He’s fearless in both ground and aerial duels, as well as doing an excellent job at recovering against attackers who have managed to get in behind the defence.
Notably, he often stays on his feet when making tackles which is an important trait in a centre-back as he’s still able to recover even if he loses an initial duel, which is rare in and of itself. He truly possesses all of the traits required to become one of the more dominant centre-backs in Europe in the near future.
In modern football, it is often imperative for centre-backs to be extremely comfortable in possession. They’re regularly used as the first option in the build-up and, as such, they must be comfortable and capable at evading pressure, retaining possession and playing progressive passes — Bisseck embodies these traits.
His press resistance is a valuable tool in the build-up and allows his team to progress through the phases with more control. He uses his long frame and notable strength to shield the ball before then progressing it via his accurate passing and powerful ball-carrying. He likes to get forward when the opportunity presents itself and has shown flashes of being a good decision-maker in the final third.
Bisseck is very comfortable in possession, particularly building up as a left centre-back in AGF’s three-at-the-back system, despite being predominantly right-footed. From this position, his field of vision creates favourable angles for progressive play. This is especially useful as the German youth international is adept at progressive switches of play from left to right.
This exploits the width created by AGF’s wing-backs and allows for penetration in wide areas. Bisseck is comfortable with both feet and certainly uses this to his advantage as he moves with fluidity and control with the ball. He possesses an impressive turning radius for such a large player, which ultimately contributes greatly to his aforementioned press resistance.
Yann Aurel Bisseck should fit seamlessly into Inter Milan’s three-at-the-back shape and use his physical and technical gifts to great effect in Italy. When considering all of these traits, as well as his comfort in the left centre-back role, parallels can be drawn to another German centre-back: Antonio Rüdiger.
Of course, the jury is still out on whether Bisseck will match the long-term quality of the Real Madrid defender, but the foundations are certainly there. He has the skill set to be dominant when defending deep, but can also be extremely valuable in a higher block with his ball-playing abilities and recovery pace. Bisseck is a complete and versatile defender, and his acquisition will likely excite Internazionale staff and supporters alike.
By: Lebohang Mwamuka / @lebzygold
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Francesco Scaccianoce – Inter