How do you solve a problem like Ulloa? Barnsley striker bid accepted

Life without Leo Ulloa
Life without Leo Ulloa

Albion hope to finalise a deal for Barnsley striker as they prepare for life without Ulloa.

Brighton and Hove Albion are hoping to finalise a deal for Barnsley striker Chris O’Grady, as the Seagulls get ready for life without Leo Ulloa.

The Albion’s top scorer and talisman is poised to sign for Premier League Leicester City in a deal that could net the Seagulls upwards of £7 million.

That likely departure, however, leaves a huge gap in Sami Hyypiä’s squad, with Craig Mackail-Smith Brighton’s only senior striker.

Shamir Fenelon has impressed so far in pre-season, but the Albion will have to add at least two new forwards to their roster in time for the season opener with Sheffield Wednesday.

It was revealed last night (Thursday) the Seagulls are set to sign Barnsley forward O’Grady in a £500,000 deal, although the 28-year-old is seen more as a replacement for Ashley Barnes, who left for Burnley last season, than the departing Ulloa.

O’Grady plundered 15 goals last campaign despite the Tykes being relegated to League One and is due to return from Barnsley’s pre-season tour of Italy for talks and a medical, with a deal possibly concluded within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Brighton will look to replace Ulloa as quickly as possible, with just 22 days until the start of the Championship season.

A number of players have already been linked with a move to Sussex, including Luciano Becchio or Norwich City, although Brighton are unlikely to be alone in attempting to tempt the striker to leave the Canaries.

Sam Baldock, of Bristol City, is another player Brighton have shown interest in, while any Ulloa cash could now fund a tilt for Peterborough’s hotshot forward Britt Assombalonga.

The Seagulls could find themselves competing for the same players as Championship rivals Leeds United, who are in need of a replacement for recently-sold striker Ross McCormack after selling him to Fulham for a reported £11 million.

It may be that the best value is found overseas. Ulloa himself arrived in Sussex for what now looks a cut-price deal from Spain.

Any money received for Ulloa could also be spent on the permanent signing Stephen Ward from Wolves and another loan deal for Jesse Lingard from Manchester United, while a new goalkeeper remains at the very top of the Albion’s list of priorities.