Hyypiä delighted by Hughes signing - and the promise of more to come

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

Sami Hyypiä has spoken of his delight at adding experienced defender Aaron Hughes to his Seagulls squad.

Sami Hyypiä has spoken of his delight at adding experienced defender Aaron Hughes to his Seagulls squad after making the former Newcastle United player his first signing.

The 34-year-old, who has also played for Aston Villa and Fulham, joined the Albion yesterday (Monday) after agreeing a one-year deal after jetting out to the club’s training camp in Spain.

Hyypiä was delighted with the signing and stressed the importance of adding experience to the Albion back line after losing Matthew Upson to recently-promoted Leicester City earlier this summer.

He said: "We wanted to bring another experienced defender, and Aaron fits the bill - having played at Premier League, Champions League and international level.

"He has a very good footballing pedigree, is an intelligent player, and he has a great mentality and good approach to the game.

"He has that experience I wanted to bring into the squad, which alongside our other senior players, will help our younger players continue to develop and progress in the first-team squad.

"I have played against Aaron a few times during my time at Liverpool and also for Finland, and I know his qualities and what he will give us.”

Hughes is also well-known to Hyypiä’s goalkeeping coach, Antti Niemi, with the pair having been part of the same Fulham squad.

The 90-cap Northern Ireland international has played in both the Europa League and the Champions League during his career and played in both his country’s most-recent matches – pre World Cup games against Chile and Uruguay.

Back in January he moved to Queens Park Rangers on a short-term deal, playing 11 times for the Loftus Road outfit and helping them clinch promotion to the Premier League.

One interesting stat is that Hughes has made more than 450 Premier League appearances without getting sent off – a record second only to Ryan Giggs.

Supporters reacted positively to the signing when it was announced by the club last night, although some fans voiced concerns his signing could block 22-year-old Lewis Dunk’s path to regular first team action.

Fans are now waiting on news of further recruitment, with a replacement for the departed Tomasz Kuszczak top of most supporters’ summer wish-lists.

Niki Mäenpää, of Dutch side VVV-Venlo, remains widely-linked with a move to The Amex – particularly after the Albion missed out on Keiren Westwood who opted to join Sheffield Wednesday on a two-year deal last week.

Elsewhere, the Seagulls have been linked with one-time Blackpool winger Elliot Grandin. According to Sky Sports, the free agent is attracted interest from the Seagulls and his former manager Ian Holloway, now boss at Millwall.

Other players said to be on the Seagulls radar include Sam Baldock, the Bristol City striker. The club is also giving development squad trials to Chelsea’s George Cole, Ghana Under 20 international centre back Daniel Pappoe, who has just left Chelsea, and Ibou Touray, a left back recently released by Everton.

Conservative estimates would suggest the Seagulls need to add at least another striker and a left back to their squad alongside a genuine number one to put them on a level playing field to last season.

Hyypiä confirmed work was ongoing to add to his existing Albion roster.

He told supporters: "Overall, we still have some work to do in terms of recruitment, and we are all working hard to do that."