After a 34 year absence from the top flight, which saw them nearly exiting the football league & selling the Goldstone Ground, moving to the new AMEX Stadium via stints at Gillingham & Withdean – my beloved Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club are back amongst the big time.
So far Albion have recruited just attacking midfielder, Pascal Gross from German outfit FC Ingolstadt 04.
With the transfer window in the English Premier League fast approaching (officially opening 1st July), I take a look at some of the players, who may be on Chris Hughton’s radar – and whom may just aid the Seagull’s to fly high in their debut EPL season.
GK – With David Stockdale having now left the club, we need to sign a Gk with EPL experience to help keep us survive at the first attempt. How would these guys fare between the sticks for BHAFC?
Willy CABELLERO – Former Man City Keeper, who ended up ousting Claudio Bravo out of the first team. Now a Free agent. Wages may prove an obstacle but big Willy has proved himself in the EPL, winning trophies & accolades along the way.
Michel VORM – Hughton may be able to lean on his Spurs contacts to recruit Tottenham number two Vorm. Was influential when at Swansea & another one proven at this level. Found game time sparse last year so may fancy the move- especially if we can scoop a loan deal. Wages may again, prove a stumbling block?
Artur BORUC – Polish international Boruc had an outstanding season at Bournemouth last year. For sure with his age at 37, he may be prone to the odd error but he helped Bournemouth finish a respectable ninth, maintaining EPL safety for a second consecutive season. Just the sort of expertise that may prove priceless for the Seagulls. With the Cherries having signed Begovic from Chelsea, one would imagine Boruc to jump at the chance of first team football?
Maty RYAN – The Argus reported that Brighton are looking at the young Valencia & Australian international goalkeeper; who is currently half way through a six year deal, at the Spanish side. He is only 25 years old, so has promise. Spent last season on loan at Genk, making 17 appearances and has represented his country 32 times.
DEFENCE – Dunk & Duffy were solid last season as was Bruno, Bong plus Goldson, Rosenior & Hunemeier when called upon. Yet we still lack depth & EPL experience in our backline. Would these names shore up our defence?
Carl JENKINSON – a name we have been linked with since we were promoted. Bruno is a legend but not getting any younger, while Rosenior struggles to stay fit. Surely an area that will be addressed. Certainly has the experience via Arsenal & loan spells at West Ham.
Fikayo TOMORI– On loan at BHAFC last season. Was named in FIFA U20 XI 15/16 season & is currently part of the England U20 side that have just reached the FIFA U20 World Cup Final. Bags of potential. Done Ok in the blue & white last year. Could well return to gain more first team experience.
Nathan AKE– a Chelsea player, people may be more familiar with, after his impressive loan stint at Bournemouth last season. Was no surprise that AFCB started to concede more goals & look fragile at the back once he returned to his parent club in January. Reads the game well & is versatile. Be a coup if CH could seal a big money move or loan for the Dutchman.
Kieron GIBBS – A proven player at this level who now seems surplus to requirements at Arsenal after the signing of Sead Kolasinac. Pace in abundance though never been that consistent in his ability to defend. Would add strength in depth at LB.
Harry MAGUIRE or Andrea RANOCCHIA – Formed a strong defensive partnership at Hull City last season under Marco Silva, though were not able to prevent the team from relegation. Maguire has been linked with a big money move to Leicester City. Was a threat offensively last year & is composed when on the ball – fitting for Albion? Ranocchia plays for Inter Milan but with their financial difficulties, CH may be able to snap him up on a cheap deal?
Timothy FORSU-MENSAH – a player known at Manchester United, as the beast due to his stature, Forsu- Mensah has been on the peripheral of the Manchester United first team for the past two seasons. Highly regarded at Old Trafford. Another player who is versatile to play at CB or DMC. May just be worth a cheeky loan bid.
Ferland MENDY – the young Le Havre full back is supposedly being touted by Crystal Palace, West Brom, Birmingham plus Brighton & Hove Albion! Has a reputation for being a ‘bombing full back’. Will definitely leave the French side this window. Albion may miss out to a more established EPL team here. That said, we definitely need a full back. £7million should be enough to secure him – claim recent reports online.
Joe GOMEZ – the Liverpool youngster made an immediate impression at Liverpool before a serious injury hampered his progress at the club. Represented England at youth levels and has huge potential. Is versatile and can play CB & LB. Reportly been seen at AMEX training ground! Be a good loan move for both parties.
MIDFIELD – Dale Stephens & Steve Sidwell have both signed new deals to shore up the Albion midfield. Yet still another area where we lack EPL experience. Would these following players look out of place in an Albion shirt?
Leiva LUCAS – another player BHAFC have been linked with since promotion. A FREE AGENT after his release at Liverpool. A combative midfielder who would bring experience aplenty but certainly not goals! Could prove a shrewd purchase but wages may be an issue.
Harry WINKS– Currently injured but a player who has already shone in the Spurs first team. Would need CH to lean on his Spurs contacts to pull this transfer off. Having suffered a heavy injury, the Amex stadium could well be the place for the exciting Winks to regain his confidence & match fitness?
Joshua ONOMAH – Another Spurs player who CH may have his eye on. Has been impressive in England U20’s recent march to the FIFA U20 World Cup Final this summer, though saw red in the Qtr Finals & subsequently missed the Semi Final as a result. Another player who has already featured in the Spurs first team, yet who struggles to get game time consistently. Could BHAFC be a stepping-stone for the young Englishman? Would bring pace & flair to the midfield adding to the talent we already have in Knockaert, March, Murphy & Skalak.
Adnan JANUZAJ– Made an immediate impression at Old Trafford under the tenure of David Moyes. Though has failed to live up to the standards set since. Had a loan spell at Sunderland last year, where, once again, he failed to shine in a poor side. Has potential & has shown his creative flair & talent in the past. Could CH see the Belgium as a player to add depth to his side? Apparently, Manchester United are quoting just £5M for him this window. Could prove a shrewd acquisition if you can unlock the raw talent he showed in his debut season.
ATTACK – Murray’s goals were influential in promotion last year & Sam Baldock certainly started to come into his own. Tomer Hemed also adds physicality to the side. This all said, a proven EPL goal scorer is needed to take the burden off an aging Murray – who will surely be looking to prove he can cut it at the top after his disappointment at Bournemouth.
Robert SNODGRASS – arguably biggest name linked to BHAFC thus far this window (if you take £100K p/w demanding JT out of the equation!). The Scotland international had a great first half of the season at Hull City prior his move to West Ham, only last January costing £11M. Not really shone at the Irons so far, he could be a player surplus to requirements. Has a good strike & can take a mean free kick. Also versatile across the front three. Has been relegated while @ Norwich & Hull City mind. Bad Omen?
Lucas PEREZ – The Arsenal forward has demanded a move after seeing little playing time at the Emirates in his one & only season last year. Though he hardly featured for the Gunners he still showed signs of quality when he did play- scoring a scorcher of a volley for his opening league goal in an Arsenal shirt, against Bournemouth. Good on the ball with pace in abundance, he can play upfront or wide plus has an eye for goal, exemplified by his tally of 17 goals for Deportivo in 15/16 season.
Tammy ABRAHAM – had a great season at on loan Bristol City last year notching 23 goals in the process. Young, fast & dynamic striker, who would have given BHAFC a different dimension up front. Seems certain to be joining Newcastle United on loan?
Chris WOOD – former Albion loanee, now plying his trade at Elland Road with Leeds United. BHAFC fans will know lots about him. Finished top goal scorer in the EFL with 27 goals last season. Arguably too similar a mould to Murray & Hemed. Huddersfield apparent favourites for his signature. Will cost.
Álvaro NEGREDO – supposedly available again as he would like to return to the EPL from parent club Valencia. Scored 9 league goals during Middlesbrough’s ill-fated stint last season. Brings experience & a physical presence up top, who generally leads line well. May share similarities again, with forwards currently at the club and wages may be a stretch. Could be money better spent?