What positions are Brighton aiming for in the summer transfer window? What did Graham Potter say? And what do the statistics say?
Which positions are Brighton targeting?
Sky Sports News’ Elliot Cook:
After Brighton’s record-breaking ninth place finish, it’s no surprise that vultures seem to be circling for some of their star players.
One of the dominant narratives surrounding the club this summer will be Yves Bissouma’s future. The midfielder was the subject of a bid from Aston Villa in January and they, along with other clubs, remain keen on the Mali international. Brighton would be willing to sell Bissouma if the right offer was made. The former Lille man has one year left on his contract. A replacement could well come if Bissouma leaves.
Marc Cucurella has strong ties to Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. It will take a mammoth bid to take away the Seagulls player of the season. The message from the club is that they are not under any pressure to sell unless an offer is made that is too good to refuse.
The noise from outside the club is urging Brighton to sign a striker to take advantage of the many chances that arise. They hope they already have one. Deniz Undav was signed by Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise in January. He was immediately loaned out to USG to help them in their quest for the league title, which ultimately ended in disappointment in the playoffs. Undav won the Jupiler Pro League Player of the Season award and scored 25 goals in 33 regular-season games as they finished first.
Danny Welbeck and Pascal Gross are close to signing new deals, while Aaron Connolly is expected to be loaned back or even sold. Other players like Jan Paul van Hecke and Reda Khadra are rated. There will be departures.
Graham Potter recently suggested selling a player at the right time for the right price to help Brighton reinvest and be competitive. It could be an interesting summer on the Sussex coast.
What do the stats say about Brighton?
It’s no secret what Brighton need: a centre-forward.
Only Norwich exceeded their expected goals (xG) by a larger margin than Brighton (-12.45) and only the bottom three teams have had a shot conversion rate lower than Brighton’s 8.6 per cent this season.
This is a known issue for Potter’s side: the Seagulls had the third worst xG differential and fourth worst shot conversion rate last season.
Neal Maupay has been in the top 10 for xG since joining Brighton in August 2019. However, he has scored 26 goals with an xG differential of 36.68 – the highest of any player over the period.
What did manager Graham Potter say?
Brighton manager Graham Potter spoke at the end of May:
“I won’t complain about having too many £40m or £50m players, that’s for sure. You know the narration. You have to keep your best players. I understand why that is because that is only reasonable.
“But there is a hierarchy in football and there is a financial reality. We cannot sit here and say ‘yes, we will keep all our players for the next five years’ because that clearly puts a huge strain on the club’s financial position.
“It’s important for us to keep moving forward and that’s how we compete, I think. Ben for sale [White] for £50m and getting better and better is how we compete in the system.
“Then it’s about selling the right player at the right time at the right price and I think we’re pretty good at that – or have been lately.
“I have absolute faith in the club. I have absolute faith in us to find the right solution for the future.”
What should Brighton do this summer?
Sky Sports’ David Richardson:
This transfer window is about retaining key players as well as creating quality.
Retaining Leandro Trossard, Neal Maupay and Alexis Mac Allister will be high on the agenda with their contracts expiring in June 2023. A particularly difficult task will be securing midfielder Yves Bissouma, whose contract also expires at the end of next season. Several Premier League clubs are reportedly interested in signing the 25-year-old.
Then there’s Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck, whose contracts expire this summer. Gross, 30, is already close to signing a new contract, while Welbeck, 31, has also impressed enough to warrant a longer stay in Graham Potter’s squad.
Brighton are once again grappling with their lack of firepower, a problem that has plagued the club for several seasons. Only four teams have scored fewer goals than the Seagulls this season — and three of them have been downed.
But don’t forget, Brighton will sign January signings Deniz Undav, a £7m striker from Royal Union Saint-Gilloise, and Poland midfielder Kacper Kozlowski, a £8m signing from Pogon Szczecin for the Welcome pre-season after spending the rest of the season on loan.