Clock is ticking on Albion transfer chase ahead of season opener

Sami Hyypiä is delighted by the signing of Aaron Hughes
Sami Hyypiä is delighted by the signing of Aaron Hughes

Sami Hyypiä and his backroom staff have just 22 days to secure new signings, if they are to play in the Albion’s opening league fixture.

Sami Hyypiä and his backroom staff have just 22 days to secure new signings, if they are to play in the Albion’s opening league fixture.

The new manager makes his competitive bow against Sheffield Wednesday at The Amex on Saturday, August 9, and sections of the Seagulls support are getting twitchy at the prospect of starting the new season without further reinforcements.

So far this summer, the club has added only Aaron Hughes and Toko Nzuzi - despite releasing a string of players and losing player of the year Matthew Upson to recently-promoted Leicester City.

It isn’t yet, however, time to panic, regardless of what some supporters may think – and despite the news that emerged yesterday (Thursday) that Leo Ulloa looks set to leave for Leicester City.

While Hyypiä clearly needs to add to his existing squad, some of the Seagulls best business last term was done late on. Stephen Ward, the Wolves left back who ended the season as runner-up in Brighton’s player of the year poll, did not arrive on loan until the third week of August.

Keith Andrews, another season-long loan signing, headed south from parent club Bolton just a few days earlier than his international colleague Ward, while Kemy Agustien joined a on a free transfer in the final days of July.

In fact, only Adam Chicksen had arrived at the Albion by this stage last season and Oscar Garcia’s team still managed to secure a play-off spot.

The sale of Ulloa, if finalised, will presumably provide significant funds for new recruits.

Nevertheless, Hyypiä will certainly prefer to have his business done sooner rather than later, particularly with new methods to implement.

His priority - aside from replacement Ulloa - remains securing a new number one. Hyypiä and his team missed out on Kieran Westwood and are unsure about the availability of loan target Jack Butland, who may yet be needed by parent club Stoke City.

Reports this week suggest the Seagulls have a genuine interest in West Ham United’s young custodian Stephen Henderson, who has a year remaining on his Boleyn Ground contract, while Finland international Niki Mäenpää, of Dutch side VVV-Venlo, remains a possibility.

It may be that the Ulloa deal kick-starts some significant Seagulls spending and recruitment.