Brighton transfer deadline analysis: What window means for Brighton, Graham Potter and Yves Bissouma
The objective of any transfer window is to be stronger at the end than you were at the beginning – whether Brighton achieved that this summer remains up for debate.
In many ways it was a decent window – they didn’t lose Yves Bissouma for a start and they added a much-needed left sided player in Marc Cucurella who arrived from Getafe for a shade over £15m, plus an energy bomb of midfielder in Enock Mwepu who joined from Red Bull Salzburg for £20m.
Mwepu, 23, has already had his first taste of Premier League football with a tough 45 minutes at Burnley, while Cucurella – schooled by Barcelona and with one Spanish cap to his name – remains untested in the cut and thrust of the Premier League. Both hugely talented, both will need some bedding in.
Two strikers landed for a combined total of around £10m as Senegal international Abdallah Sima joined for a reported £7m from Salvia Prague and earlier in the window Japan’s brightest talent Kaoru Mitoma signed from Kawasaki Frontale.
Sima carved it up in the Czech top-flight last season while Mitoma proved a real menace for J1 League defenders. Sima will spend the season on loan in the Championship at Stoke and Mitoma will serve the first part of his Albion sentence touring Belgium with Union SG.
Fine prospects the pair of them and they may well feature for Albion at some stage in the future but they are of little use for head coach Graham Potter for the here and now.
There was serious talk of Darwin Nunez from Benfica, the odd rumour of Tammy Abraham from Chelsea or perhaps Dan James from Manchester United.
The £20m negotiations for Nunez proved problematic and that door seems to be closed for the time being at least. Abraham departed on colossal wages to Jose Mourinho’s Roma for £34m and James – a former student of Potter’s at Swansea – finally joined Leeds for around £25m on a five-year contract.
Potter’s progressive team could really have done with a striker this season and achieving their much-talked about top 10 status – certainly for this season – now seems a tough ask indeed.
The right deal may not have been available in this window but at some stage in the very near future, Albion may have to invest heavily in attack – as Leeds have in James – to give Potter’s team a fighting chance of the top 10.
Florin Andone, Percy Tau and Alireza Jahanbakhsh probably needed to go and did, while Zeqiri wanted game time and left on loan.
Aaron Connolly, Danny Welbeck and Neal Maupay remain and Maupay has started well with two goals from his first two matches.
The Frenchman scored 10 in his first season and eight in his second – strikers have arrived in the Premier League for much larger sums and delivered so much less.
Connolly, 21, remains a lively handful for Potter and so to sporadically for Premier League defenders. He could yet still deliver for Albion this season.
Welbeck showed glimpses last campaign and it was his and Adam Lallana’s experience that helped maintain Albion’s top flight status. The former Man United striker is currently working his way back from his latest injury and if Leo Trossard can also contribute goals and assists, then between them, they may just cover the lack of a new striker this transfer window.
But to do that there has to be significant improvement from Trossard and Connolly and therein lies the hard graft for Potter. “The answer is not always external,” Potter previously said. “My job is to improve the players we have.”
Ben White departed earlier in the window for £50m and his loss should be covered by the experience of a revitalised Shane Duffy and the consistency of Joel Veltman. It is also hoped Tariq Lamptey will return after the international break and the prospect of Lamptey on the right and Cucurella on the left is genuinely exciting. They could add a completely new dimension to what we have seen for the last six months.
Albion may not be significantly stronger after this window but they have kept Bissouma and at this stage of the team’s development, that could prove more vital than a new striker.