News broke yesterday of Brighton’s third summer signing and it may be the most significant one yet.
Glenn Murray, who helped the Seagulls into the Championship with 22 goals during the 2010/11 season, has returned to the club on a one-year loan deal. The move may represent something of a coup for Albion and they look well placed to mount another serious promotion charge when the August opening day comes back around.
Indeed, having already secured the signature of Steve Sidwell, Murray is the second player from the top flight to have joined so far and the transfer window has only just flung open. Furthermore, as Chris Hughton pointed out upon signing the Bournemouth striker, Murray “knows how to score goals at this level and what it takes to get out of this division”.
Therein lies the key: Brighton already possess players who know the league and its intricacies. The Championship is a complex league – more complex than many realise – and it is a devil to get out of, especially with the enormous parachute payments to relegated Premier League teams. But Murray almost single-handedly lifted Crystal Palace into the top flight in 2012/13 with his ability to perform alone as the attacking fulcrum.
The same might well be true for Brighton in the upcoming season. With Bobby Zamora released, Albion were probably in need of another striker to at least back up Sam Baldock. He may even be given the chance to repeat his Crystal Palace heroics as the main man, with Baldock having scored just seven in 47 appearances for the Seagulls.
Murray is not the most mobile of strikers, which is both a gift and a curse: on the one hand, age wont affect his pace as it does with other strikers. On the other hand, he needs creativity to thrive. Luckily, that should come in abundance at Brighton: potentially dovetailing with star striker and leading hitman Tomer Hemed as well as midfield ingenuity in the form of Anthony Knockaert and Beram Kayal, Murray will have no shortage of runners and playmakers to both feed and feed off.
Arguably the most unpredictable league, there’s no guarantee that Murray will be able to recreate his Championship heroics of 2012/13. If he does, however, Brighton will surely be there or thereabouts come May 2017.
Matt Cowdock, @MattCowdock, email@example.com