For most clubs of Brighton & Hove Albion’s size, losing a player as gifted and influential as Leandro Trossard would be seen as a serious concern and a potential catalyst for a downward trajectory. However, recent acquisitions for the seagulls suggest that fans need not worry about their club finding an adequate replacement.
Recent sales at Brighton have involved a plethora of crucial names and talented stars, with Marc Cucarella, Yves Bissouma and Dan Burn being three of the more recent examples. The club also lost their hugely influential head coach Graham Potter to Chelsea earlier this campaign, sparking fears over whether the team’s style of play would be abandoned for a more pragmatic approach.
However, Brighton have defied the odds by not only recruiting outstanding players, but also investing in a manager with a clear philosophy that fits with the squad he was provided with.
When looking at individual signings, it seems prudent to begin with the in-form Kaoru Mitoma, who epitomises Brighton’s wide net regarding scouting and transfers. The winger was signed from the J1 League for an undisclosed fee, however it is believed to have been under £5 million. Not only was this transfer innovative due to the league Mitoma was from – the Japanese international attended Tsukuba University before beginning his professional career, making Brighton’s signing even more unorthodox for a Premier League club.
Since his arrival, Mitoma has provided a new element to Brighton’s attack with his electric pace, and willingness to go round the outside of his man. Unsurprisingly, due to his thesis being written on the art of dribbling, the wide man averages 1.4 dribbles per game at an impressive success rate of 59%.
This demonstration of swooping for players from lesser known leagues is not a one-off, it is a theme consistent across many of Brighton’s recent transfer successes. The departure of Bissouma to Tottenham Hotspur was seen as a huge loss for the seagulls, however Moises Caicedo has taken on a more prominent role in the team in Bissoma’s absence.
The Ecuadorian was signed for a mere £4.5 million, which pales in comparison to the reported £55 million offer from Chelsea this January window. Signed from Independiente del Valle, this is another example of a player with huge potential being recruited from a lesser known club going on to be worth substantially more than what was paid for him.
Despite his brilliant performances this season in the Premier League, Alexis Mac Allister has arguably only gained his deserved recognition since his stunning involvement in Argentina’s World Cup win. The central midfielder was picked up from Argentinos Juniors at the age of 21, and has developed to become an incredibly versatile and well rounded asset for the Seagulls. Mac Allister further highlights Brighton’s incredible scouting network and ability to identify talented players from lesser known clubs.
The time at which these three examples were recruited also demonstrates how proactive Brighton can be in the transfer market. The acquisition of Mitoma was secured before talks of Trossard’s exit, and Caicedo and Mac Allister had been performing alongside Yves Bissouma before his departure. This highlights how Brighton do not wait until big players are pawned off to larger clubs before searching for the next hidden gem in a similar position- they are consistently scouring the smaller leagues for the opportunity to snatch a bargain deal for a potential star.
With the recent interest in Caicedo from top clubs such as Chelsea and Arsenal, Brighton are wasting no time in lining up a new exciting prospect, with Yasin Ayari from the Swedish league reportedly joining the seagulls for a £5 million fee.