Sitting in 17 th place, never has a transfer window been so important to the future of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club. Despite hitting a recent run of form with wins over Tottenham and Leeds, Graham Potter has needed to bolster his team in order to widen the current 7-point gap between the seagulls and relegation rivals Fulham. But what has happened?
The biggest need for the club following their 11 draws so far this season and being second bottom in terms of shots on targets was a striker to support top scorer Neal Maupay. While no transfer was made, Percy Tau, a 2018 signing from Mamelodi Sundowns has finally received his work permit to play in the Premier League. An award-winning player, both in South Africa and during his loan spells, Tau brings an energy and work rate that is exactly what a struggling team needs to get back on its feet, with a personality and cult social media following that has the potential to excite the fans desperately looking to escape the drop. One noted concern is his lack of English football, which is worrying for a team with a need for instant results as time is not there for slow integration.
This is also true of actual new signing Moises Caicedo, a skilled technical box to box midfielder also believed to have been on the radar of Manchester United. For £4 million, the concerns are obvious with no games since mid-December, Caicedo will now take part in a makeshift pre-season to get him up to speed alongside the playmakers need to both learn English and adapt to a complete life change at only 19 years old.
On the other side, Brighton lost a lot of combined Premier League experience in this window with goalkeeper Mat Ryan, striker Glenn Murray and left back Bernardo all leaving on loan at a time when their cool heads may have been beneficial to what is now a younger first team than before the window opened. Potter himself has admitted that following the club’s historical losses this season, there is a greater need to gamble on unproven young players to come good and lift the club at low cost. This is a very risky strategy for a club on the brink of relegation, but also a possibly fruitful one too.
This season has seen the emergence of Alexis MacAllister following his up and down spell
since arriving at the club, with the faith in him being rewarded through top quality
Such talent has the ability to shine through, and in players such as Tau and Caicedo there is a clear ambition to succeed with obvious talent to back it up, making it very apparent that they could really lift the club given the chance.
Players already at the club such as misfiring Aaron Connelly and other high potential
youngsters also could shine in their roles now the pressure is off.
However, the season has just over four months to go, and the pressure is on to provide
against teams like Fulham and West Bromwich Albion who have added real name quality in
the final days of the window like Josh Maja and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
With that in mind, Brighton are in for a real struggle to remain in the division. They have the clear quality to stay up, but it really will come down to digging deep and every point will count.
Convert those draws into wins and they could go as high as 15 th by the end of the season.
But if the largely unchanged squad cannot start hitting the target more and actually winning games, then they leave the door wide open to be playing Championship football next season