What’s the latest?
Lilywhites boss Antontio Conte did not rule him out of contention during his pre-game press conference on Thursday but claimed that he would have to check on his condition before making a final decision.
However, now, football.london have revealed that the former Brighton midfielder was absent from first-team training ahead of tomorrow’s long-awaited encounter.
Another gutting blow for Conte
It’s true that Bissouma could well have been working away privately from the main group but with manager Antonio Conte said to have been doing ten-man passing drills with potentially his starting XI on show, it seems unlikely that the Mali international will be involved.
The Italian head coach will be gutted to not have his new arrival available as he will be looking to kickstart the season with three points as they welcome the Saints to north London.
Is Bissouma a first-choice midfielder for Conte?
He was already without the services of fellow midfielder Oliver Skipp, who suffered what has been described as a “freak” and “gruesome” injury during training last week and so he has now been dealt another cruel blow, being without another key member of the engine room.
Once described as a “wonderful talent” by his former Seagulls boss Chris Hughton, Bissouma performed better than all of Conte’s current midfield options in the Premier League last season when it came to tackles (2.9 per game) and interceptions (1.9 per game).
On that evidence alone, the 25-year-old would have been a shoo-in to start this weekend’s league opener but given his lack of involvement in a crucial part of training, it seems as if Conte has been dealt yet another setback ahead of kickoff.
The Italian will surely be gutted to not see Bissouma involved this weekend.