Seagulls still searching for left back

Adam Chicksen is Albion?s only specialist left back. (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)
Adam Chicksen is Albion?s only specialist left back. (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)

A new left back is top of Sami Hyypiä’s Seagulls shopping list.

A new left back is top of Sami Hyypiä’s Seagulls shopping list with fans hoping the Albion can still secure the services of last season’s loan star Stephen Ward.

The Ireland international played for his parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers during a friendly earlier this week, although the Wolves line- up was not exclusively first choice players.

Ward enjoyed a fruitful spell at the Amex under Oscar Garcia last season and despite the fact the head coach has since been replaced by Hyypiä, the club’s recruitment team, which is headed by David Burke, remains keen on adding him to the Albion roster on a permanent basis.

Wolves are looking to sell as they prepare for life in the back in the second tier of English football after a year spent in League One. The Black Country outfit will demand a minimal transfer fee for Ward, likely to be around the £100,000 mark, and Brighton could easily afford the sum, particularly after selling Leo Ulloa for £8 million.

The stumbling block so far, however, has been the player’s wages. Brighton contributed £10,000 a week towards Ward’s overall £13,000 wage and the Seagulls, ever mindful of Financial Fair Play restrictions, have so far been unwilling to bend their strict wage budget to accommodate the full figure.

With time running out before the start of the season and with little reported interest from elsewhere, supporters will hope a compromise can be reached.

In the meantime the Seagulls will be busy identifying alternatives. At present Hyypiä has limited options at left back, with Adam Chicksen the likely first choice if no new signings can be secured.

The club has been linked with a move for Paul Konchesky. The Mirror newspaper reported Albion’s alleged interest in the 33-year-old Leicester City left back, who has a wealth of Premier League experience and been capped twice by England.

It could be, however, that the apparent interest in tough- tackling Konchesky is little more than an effort to force Ward’s hand and speed up a deal for the Albion’s first choice target.

The Seagulls met Southampton last night in the last of the club’s pre-season friendlies, with recently-recruited goalkeeper David Stockdale expected to make his first start.

Stockdale, who joined for a reported £1 million from Fulham, has already impressed supporters by taking time to talk to Albion fans on Twitter. The ‘keeper, who will wear the number 13 shirt, said he was won over by the club’s Premier League ambitions.

He said: “Brighton and Hove Albion have got a lot of history, and they’ve come such a long way in the last five years, and after speaking to everyone at the club, I was delighted to come.

“Everyone spoke about where the club’s heading, and the manager said we’re a club with Premier League facilities and we’re now striving to get there as a team.”

Brighton now have just over a week to strengthen further before the visit of Sheffield Wednesday in the season opener, with Sam Baldock and Adam Clayton both continuing to be linked to the Seagulls.