Davy Propper could become Brighton & Hove Albion's best ever midfielder - Scott McCarthy
We need to talk about Davy Propper, or to be more precise, we need to talk about why nobody else is talking about Davy Propper.
Brighton and Hove Albion have four central midfielders. Dale Stephens is frequently discussed among the Albion faithful for his contribution over the past five years, is third choice captain and most Albion fans appreciate the job he does in a defensive sense at least.
Yves Bissouma has been here six months and although not managing to hold down a first team spot, he has a ridiculously catchy song and is seen by many supporters as the best of the four. Talented, yes – but also young and raw with a defensive game that needs some work.
Beram Kayal quite rightly commands respect for the way he has battled back from two long-term injuries during his time at the Amex. If you want evidence of his popularity, then he was voted our WeAreBrighton.com player of the month in November and came second in the previous month’s poll for good measure.
Propper by comparison seems to be hardly mentioned, which is mad. Perhaps it is because he goes about his business in such a quiet and understated manner, but the classy Dutchman isn’t just the best of the four midfielders at the club currently – he could also lay claim to being one of the best we’ve ever had.
Take his assist for Pascal Gross’ goal against Manchester United at the weekend. A swerve of the hips that Pasha Kovalev would be proud of left Victor Lindelof on the floor, after which Propper bent the ball into the area with the outside of his boot, perfectly dropping it between two United defenders and onto the chest of Gross who brought it down and finished.
Had Paul Pogba done that up the other end, Match of the Day would have dedicated at least 45 minutes to just showing that pass over and over again on repeat and it would have become the most used GIF on Twitter of 2019.
It was an outrageous piece of skill from an outrageously talented player – not that it impressed one commentator who described it as “a hopeful ball in”. Which is rather like saying the Mona Lisa is a hopeful bit of drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci or the Colosseum was a lucky bit of architecture by the Romans.
Moments like that from Propper aren’t one-offs either. He sees passes that others don’t. He can take opponents out the game with a single touch, as he did in the 1-0 home win against Everton with a brilliant Cruyff Turn which left Kurt Zouma for dead.
There is just one element missing from Propper’s game which, if he sorted, would surely leave no doubt about his standing as one of the best central midfielders in Albion history – goals. Propper is yet to score in 60 appearances so far for the Albion.
He certainly has the ability to do so. He scored 18 times during his two seasons at previous club PSV Eindhoven and has three in 13 for the Dutch national team. If he could rediscover that scoring touch and start contributing in front of goal, then suddenly we’ve got a central midfielder who can do quite literally everything.
And that would make him the best we’ve ever had. Davy Propper – he’s proper good. It’s about time we started to realise it.
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