Brighton & Hove Albion 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
I think that Brighton & Hove Albion has a real chance to make some waves in this season of the Premier League (as I noted here). I spoke about their need to fill some key positions, and I think they’ve done that very well. I am also astonished by the manager speaking about this BHAFC club. I have never heard a coach/manager say they are “happy with their squad.” They are always seemingly the first to point out concerns or to allude to potential additions that could make their squad better. Maybe that says more to do with the eight acquisitions they’ve already made than faith in the squad, but regardless of the reason, Manager Chris Houghton has sent a statement to his team loud and clear.
Hopefully this translates to a bumper season for Gull’s fans, they definitely have made some shrewd signings — I think the mid-table finish I suggested in my Primer is a very realistic possibility. I expect this side to bring a lot more goals in, and probably keep the back line a little tighter for an even better goal differential. I also think that their transfer business, while around $45M, is still realistic for this side — they aren’t spending outside their income and could still achieve a pretty hefty profit margin. (Update: as the window continued — they made their way closer to the $75M mark, excluding undisclosed transfers — but I still think the outlays can be covered by a decent performance in the league. For this side, I think that means, don’t get relegated because if they can stay up I think all of their improvements will be reimbursed by league revenues).

Ins:

  • Alireza Jahanbakhsh ($21M from AZ Alkmaar)
    Jahanbakhsh is the only true attacking right midfielder that Brighton has and I imagine that he will end up playing opposite Bissouma. These two should combine for some lovely goals for Brighton, as he has had a prolific season in the Eredivise. He appeared in 33 apearances and punctuated his time on the pitch by adding an astounding 21 goals and 12 assists. For people at hoping keeping score, that means he added an assist or goal every game. That time of production is mindboggling. for comparison sake — here are Cristiano Ronaldo’s statistics for the same time. In 27 appearances, Ronaldo scored 26 goals and 5 assists, which is barely better than the statistics that Jahanbakhsh threw down in Eredivise. If he can get anywhere near that in the Premier League, this might be the signing of the century.
  • Yves Bissouma ($18.5M from LOSC Lille)
    Bissouma made 24 starts across all competitions for Lille, however there was very, very little consistency about where. He made 7 appearances as a defensive midfielder, 5 as a central midfielder, 4 games at right back and 2 more as a right midfielder. In the roles he’s been playing he’s not likely to put big statistical numbers on the board as far as goals and assists. His best statistical performances have come while played defensive midfield, likely freeing up for more attacking movement (and less hindrance for those attacking players in the form of defensive responsibilities). Bissouma boated an 85.2% pass percentage across his appearances which indicates that he is solid under pressure and make sure good decisions finding the smart pass. I expect him to slide in next to Davy Propper for the times they play two defensive midfielders supporting the back line.
  • Bernardo ($11M from RB Leipzig)
    Bernardo featured in a 26 games for RB Leipzig, he’s a solid left back with the ability to consistently win aerial duels and is a proficient tackler. I think this move is most likely to provide both cover and a challenge for Bong. While Bong did make 25 appearances, I think he’ll play fewer this season creating a little more time for Bernardo. Bernado spent quality minutes on the pitch for Leipzig and I anticipate that’s why he was brought in. He’s a young defender with great promise and considerable consistency.
  • Florin Andone ($6.5M from Deportivo de la Coruña)
    Andone was brought into this side for one reason, goals. Outside of Glenn Murray, this really hasn’t been a great goal scoring squad, and Andone’s record provides reason to believe there’s some upside. In 86 Liga 1 appearances, he’s scored 23 goals and 7 assists, which works out to 0.3 goals/game. I also think that this side will need to be a little more attack minded. I think Andone will benefit greatly from Propper, Groß, and Bissouma.
  • David Button ($5M from Fulham)
    If the Seagulls have made a bad move, this might be it. I don’t think Button is an improvement over Matt Ryan even on his best form. Bring his horrendous recent form that lost him his starting job at Fulham, I’m not really sure what the motive is here. I’m sure someone will suggest the “competition” aspect, but I don’t think that a $5M keeper in poor form is worth that kind of gamble. For my money, I would have stuck with Ryan and let Fulham do what they want with Button. (Update: I was reminded by a reader that BHA was losing 2 others keepers and needs to still meet homegrown player quotas — so this move may be related to this also).
  • Leon Balogun (Free Transfer from Mainz 05)
    Balogun brings some additional depth to the squads center back core, however, looking back on his appearances for Mainz, he seems to have a lot of Jekyl & Hyde performances, a great appearance followed by a poor one. Because of the nature of this acquisition, Free Transfer, I think I’m okay with a little roll of the dice. At worst he provides some intermittent back up for injury or substitution, so really there’s only the potential for upside — especially at just his wage. I don’t anticipate a change from Dunk & Duffy being the ideal pairing, but we’ll see what happens with this trade.
  • Jason Steele (Undisclosed from Sunderland)
    I think this ultimately has a similar feel as the Balogun free trade, I’m not sure they’ve gained an astronomical advantage with this signing, but now they have some good goalkeeper depth and I think the downsides are minimal.
  • Percy Tau  ($3.5M from Sundowns)
    These sorts of transfers are always difficult from an analyst perspective: a player from a foreign league that takes a huge step up in class, as the South African League has nothing on the Premier League. Anyways, with the obvious caveat out of the way let’s get into Tau’s performances. He’s made 102 total appearances for Sundowns, and was frankly, rampant, scoring 24 goals and adding 27 assists, so I have no concerns about saying that despite the step up in class, he’ll also get a step up in the class of his teammates. At such a young age, I think this deal is likely to pay dividends for the side. I think much of the analysis from Andone is likely to have similar effects for Tau.
  • Martín Montoya ($7.5M from Valencia CF) – I think Montoya will be a nice addition to this side, I don’t see any glaring weaknesses in the signing. He’s shown a good ability to compete for aerial balls, blocking, inteceptions, and some definite passing ability adding 4 assists for Valencia’s campaign last season. Montoya’s signing completes an entire rebuild of the backline (should BHA choose to implement it) which can really only be a good thing because they had a hugely negative goal differential. That said, I didn’t feel like their goals conceded was a huge issue for them, as they were pretty middle of the pack — hopefully Montoya can help provide some crosses and key passes to help score some goals also.

Outs:

  • Connor Goldson ($3.75M to Rangers)
    I think Goldson’s time with the club had largely come to an end with the additional signings they’ve made that can play center back. I think the club has done well to get a fee for his transfer, and I think Goldson is likely to find some more playing time here.
  • Jiri Skalak ($1M+ to Millwall) – Skalak didn’t make a single appearance for the first team last season and only a couple for the reserves side. If the club gets an offer for a player that you don’t deem good enough to play for your reserve side, I think you take it and cash in, which is exactly what they did. The club recoups some money and they player gets to move to a team where he will actually be able to get some playing time.
  • Sam Baldock ($4M to Reading) – Baldock was in a similar position to Skalak, possibly related to some injuries. I reiterate the point I made in Skalak’s analysis however, if a player isn’t in your club’s future — and in this case you can make several million, I see no reason to hang on to them. Baldock and Skalak’s positions were completely retooled in the offseason as well, swihich means there’s very little (if any) down side to these transactions.
  • Jamie Murphy ($1.3M to Rangers) – I think you can basically copy and paste all of Goldson’s analysis here (just cross his name out and put Murphy; change references to center back to midfield). I think there’s just too much quality in Bernardo coming in for Murphy to succeed, and I think that Bissouma will offer more attacking quality than Murphy could.
  • Uwe Hünemeier (Free Transfer to SC Paderborn)
    Hünemeier barely contributed last year (1 appearance) and 3 new defenders brought into the side, it only seems reasonable that Hünemeier would want to seek a place he would fit into the side more often. At 32, he’s probably not content playing reserve soccer, he’ll want to be first team until he hangs up his boots.
  • Tyler Hornby-Forbes (Free Transfer to Newport Co)
    Hornbsy-Forbes hasn’t really provided anything to the club and has spent a good portion of it on loan. I expect him to get signed by a Tier 3 or Tier 4 clubs and play an important role for that side.
  • Liam Rosenior (Retired — accepted a position with BHA Academy)
    Rosenior had a great run with the club and will likely go down as a club or fan favorite. At his age, and with new players coming in to provide additional competition for a starting role, I think it’s the right move. Rosenior made most of his appearances at the championship level, so maybe he can find a club wanting an experienced right back where he’ll get more playing time and can be a key cog in his twilight years.
  • Tim Krul (Released)
    There isn’t really a need for Krul anymore with the acquisitions of two goalkeepers in this window; he also was rarely seeing playing time. There’s just too much quality in the goalkeeping on this side for Krul to break through, this move will allow him to find a place he can regularly contribute.
  • Niki Mäenpää (Released)
    Mäenpää came to the club from VVV-Venlo, but never really established himself as a regular, this move comes as no surprise for a guy that only featured once for the club in the Championship and never featuring for the Premier League side. He’s also getting older and might not feature again in the side, so it’s probably best that he looks to move to another club if he wants to keep playing.
  • Steve Sidwell (Released)
    Sidwell spent almost the entirety of last season on the bench with some injury problems, only making the bench for a total of two games. The combination of his age and inability to keep fit is only compounded by increased competition in the side.
  • Rohan Ince (Released)
    Ince played a number of times as the club worked its way through the lower tier’s but doesn’t look to be a part of the Premier League side. He’s spent the last couple seasons on loan to squads in Tier 4, which doesn’t bode well for any player’s future in the first team.

Last updated: August 16, 2018

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