Although many pundits and fans predicted Brighton to go straight back down to the Championship, Brighton defied expectations by finishing 15th in their first top flight season for 34 years. In the FA Cup, the Seagulls also had a good run, making it all the way to the quarter-finals where they were eliminated 2-0 by eventual finalists Manchester United. Their League Cup run however was much shorter, ending in the third round 1-0 in extra time to Bournemouth.
Brighton’s main highlight was undoubtedly their 1-0 home win over Manchester United in May were Pascal Gross’ 57th minute goal secured their Premier League future.
The Seagulls’ lowlight of the season was their 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. That loss was right before their last five games of the season which were all against teams in the top seven and losing to fellow relegation battlers Palace looked set to relegate them before their heroic win over Manchester United after two draws against Tottenham and Burnley.
State of the Club
Brighton’s chairman Tony Bloom is a longtime fan of the club and, since taking over the club in 2009, he has been preparing them for the Premier League. Now they are not only in the top flight but have retained their place there, Bloom will continue to back the club with the hopes of establishing them as Premier League regulars.
Chris Hughton has been the manager at Brighton since 2014 and recently signed a new deal to stay at the club until 2021.
The overall feeling at the club is one of optimism. Brighton have already proved a lot of people wrong by staying up last season and they are optimistic that with a few more additions to strengthen their squad, they can defy expectations and stay up once again.
Diamonds in the Rough
Attacking midfielder Jordan Maguire-Drew spent time last season in League Two with Lincoln City and Coventry, with Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley being a huge fan of the 20-year-old. “I’ve worked with lots of players and he’s special. He’s a great kid who has got unbelievable talent.”
18-year-old Irish midfielder Jayson Molumby is also very highly rated at the club. Molumby made his first team debut last year as a 17-year-old in the League Cup against Barnet and played the full 120 minutes when they were knocked out of the competition by Bournemouth. The youngster is Ireland’s under-19s captain and clearly thought of highly by Hughton. Expect to see more of him this season.
20-year-old centre-back Ben White may well be afforded a chance to impress at the Amex this season after playing an integral part for Newport County in League Two last season, making 47 appearances for them and starring in their FA Cup win over Leeds and draw with Tottenham Hotspur during his loan spell. Albion clearly rate him highly, with the youngster signing a new three-year-deal at the club in April and already having a handful of senior appearances for Brighton under his belt in the EFL Cup.
Jack O’Connell: Brighton’s defensive pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy was one of the main reasons they stayed up last season. The two are real old-school defenders and Brighton really need some back up options for them. Both Uwe Heunemeier and Connor Goldson have left the club to join SC Paderborn and Rangers respectively and they have so far only brought in one replacement in Leon Balogun from Mainz so will be looking for at least one more. Drawn out negotiations with Reading star Liam Moore seem to be going nowhere fast so one option that the Seagulls may well turn to is Jack O’Connell. O’Connell made an appearance in all 46 Championship games for Sheffield United last year and impressed for the Blades as they narrowly missed out on a play-off place. The 24-year-old is described by United as “a no-nonsense defender, who is comfortable on the ball and happy to attack” and would fit Brighton’s style of play perfectly.
Leroy Fer: Albion are clearly in the market for more midfielders having had two bids turned down by Sunderland for Northern Irish midfielder Paddy McNair who eventually joined Middlesbrough and after missing out on the former Manchester United man, Swansea’s Leroy Fer is an option worth exploring. Swansea were relegated last season so Fer would likely welcome the opportunity for a Premier League return once he returns from the achilles injury which limited his opportunities last year. The Dutchman is a proven top-flight player and, as a box-to-box workhorse with plenty of technical quality, he would add another option and dimension to the Brighton midfield by being able to play in a holding role alongside the likes of Dale Stephens and Davy Propper or as a more-than-able back-up to the more attacking role played by Pascal Gross.
Kean Bryan: Chris Hughton’s side have been linked with the Manchester City starlet on loan this summer and Bryan would certainly provide some positional back-up for the south coast side, the only issue is whether he could make the step up to Premier League level. Primarily a centre-back now, Bryan was converted from a midfielder by City’s academy and has retained the vision and passing ability which got him an academy deal since moving into defence. The 21-year-old made 21 league appearances for Oldham last season and was a rare bright spot in their unsuccessful relegation battle and his performances at Boundary Park are believed to have caught Brighton’s attention. The Seagulls are unlikely to be the only club in for Bryan on loan but surely the lure of Premier League football would be too much to turn down – even if he will only be a back-up option.
Lazy Fan Insider Knowledge
- Florin Andone (Striker, Deportivo La Coruna)
- Leon Balogun (Defender, Mainz)
- Bernardo (Defender, RB Leipzig)
- Jason Steele (Goalkeeper, Sunderland)
- Connor Goldson (Defender, Rangers)
- Tim Krul (Goalkeeper, Unattached)
- Steve Sidwell (Midfielder, Unattached)
- Liam Rosenior (Defender, Unattached)
- Rohan Ince (Midfielder, Unattached)
- Tyler Hornby-Forbes (Defender, Newport County)
- Thomas Dallison-Lisbon (Midfielder, Falkirk)
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