Jamie Murphy

Getty Images

Season Preview: Can Brighton avoid sophomore slump?

Leave a comment

Brighton at a glance:

Premier League (and old First Division) titles: 0 (best finish: 15th, 2017/18)

FA Cups: 0 (best finish: 2nd, 1983)

League Cups: 0 (best finish: 4th round, twice)

FA Community Shield: 0

Top Four finishes: 0

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]


The glitz and glamor has worn off, the celebrations are over, the bright lights are no longer blinding. Brighton & Hove Albion is an established Premier League club.

The Seagulls navigated the club’s first-ever Premier League season with pragmatism, organization, and occasionally style, avoiding relegation by a somewhat comfortable seven points. Now, the goal becomes avoiding a sophomore slump.

Somewhat active in the transfer market this summer, manager Chris Hughton has the tall task of weighing new, higher expectations brought on by last season’s mild success with the reality of the situation: Brighton & Hove Albion’s goal is still to remain a Premier League competitor. Avoiding relegation is ultimately the goal, and like it was this past year, anything else is bonus. Still, having proven they can do the job once has undoubtedly added a little extra spice to the regularly scheduled dose of pressure, with supporters likely expecting not just Premier League safety, but also tangible improvement, something Hughton will have to handle.


Brighton will finish top ten because….their defense was stellar last season, and not only kept them up but kept them in almost every game. Brighton conceded 54 goals last season in 38 games, less than anyone else in the bottom half of the table. The team warded off suitors for Lewis Dunk, a decision which proved smart. His central defensive partner is a full international in Shane Duffy. Both are 25 years old. If they can use the new signings to bolster the attack effectively, this is a team that has the potential to make some noise.

Brighton will be relegated because…they simply can’t score. They scored just 34 goals last season, and were shut out a whopping 17 times. To fix this problem, Brighton has spent nearly $70 million this summer, but have gone with quantity over quality, not spending more than $22 million on any one player. That man was Iranian winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who has just one good season under his belt at AZ Alkmaar. They signed Jurgen Locadia back in January from PSV Eindhoven, and despite plenty of aplomb, he managed just a single goal. It’s a work in progress, but if the attack doesn’t improve, Brighton is in trouble.

Best possible XI:

———————Ryan———————

——Bernardo—Dunk—Duffy——Bruno——

—————Propper——Stephens——————

——Jahanbakhsh——Gross——Knockaert——

——————Murray——————

Transfers In: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar, $22.3 million), Yves Bissouma (Lille, $19.8 million), Bernardo (RB Leipzig, $11 million), Florin Andone (Deportivo la Coruna, $7 million), David Button (Fulham, $5.2 million), Percy Tau ($3.8 million).

Transfers Out: Sam Baldock (Reading, $4.6 million), Connor Goldson (Rangers, $3.9 million), Jamie Murphy (Rangers, $1.4 million), Jiri Skalak (Millwall, $937k), Tim Krul (Norwich, Free).

Ranking their offseason: C+

There’s still a lot to be determined here, most of which falls in the lap of Jahanbakhsh. If he can repeat last season with AZ Alkmaar, Brighton will have one of the best value buys of the entire summer. If he falls flat, there’s little else to provide this attack with any type of spark, leaving them toothless once again. Also, Bissouma is a midfield destroyer who could boost the team’s cover for the back line and begin moving possession forward, and if he performs well and earns a starting spot, Brighton will not just have one of the strong midfields of the lower-table sides, but also a great asset on their hands, with Bissouma at just 21 years old. The C+ grade comes with lots of question marks, but plenty of potential as well.


Pascal Gross is vital to this Brighton squad, and hopefully will have some of the weight lifted from his shoulders this season (Getty Images)

Star player: This is a loaded question, as nobody truly stands out on this squad at the moment. Jurgen Locadia was meant to be that star when he was brought in last winter, but has since fallen flat. He still has that chance, but the slow start has not been terribly endearing. Jahanbakhsh also has a shot to be the guy, but he’s making a significant step up in competition. At the moment, Brighton’s incumbent star is Pascal Gross, a midfielder who flew under the Premier League radar last season but scored seven goals and was often Brighton’s biggest threat moving forward, even starting as a pseudo-striker down the stretch of the season.

Coach’s Corner: Chris Hughton is potentially the Premier League’s most underrated managers. He finished 11th with a thin Norwich City squad back in 2012/13, although they limped to relegation the next. He has built a sustainable ship at Brighton, but this coming season will be critical to their long-term health. While managers like David Wagner and Sean Dyche are constantly praised for the performances they give at clubs of lesser stature, Hughton’s job at Brighton – a team that had never made the top flight before last season – is one that never gets the credit it deserves.

PST Predicts: Sophomore seasons for newly promoted clubs are ones even more impossible to predict than their first. After securing safety in the first season up, many fans expect marketable improvement over the previous campaign, adding pressure to the players and coaches. Nobody wants to fall back, but still the goal should be the same. As long as the team realizes the bar is still league safety, they will be ok. Any added pressure could cause the team to fall apart. We’ll say Brighton stays up, but barely, with a 17th placed finish. There are worse teams than this perusing the Premier League, and that should be enough to keep them afloa-.

Every Premier League transfer deal in January

arsenal.com
Leave a comment

Did your club get its moves over the line? Or were they all settled before the window moved to Wednesday?

[ MORE: JPW grades every PL club ]

Thanks to PremierLeague.com, we’ve got the full list of ins and outs from the most competitive top league in the world.

Arsenal

In
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) Undisclosed
Konstantinos Mavropanos (PAS Giannina) Undisclosed
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man Utd) Swap

Out
Jeff-Reine Adelaide (Angers) Loan
Chuba Akpom (Sint-Truidense) Loan
Krystian Bielik (Walsall) Loan
Francis Coquelin (Valencia) Undisclosed
Mathieu Debuchy (Saint-Etienne) Undisclosed
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) Undisclosed
Stephy Mavididi (Charlton Athletic) Loan
Marcus McGuane (Barcelona) Undisclosed
Tafari Moore (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan
Julio Pleguezuelo (Gimnastic de Tarragona) Loan
Alexis Sanchez (Man Utd) Swap
Ben Sheaf (Stevenage) Loan
Theo Walcott (Everton) Undisclosed

AFC Bournemouth

In
Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) Loan return

Out
Baily Cargill (Partick Thistle) Loan
Mihai Dobre (Rochdale) Loan
Lewis Grabban (Aston Villa) Loan
Shaun Hobson (Chester) Loan
Connor Mahoney (Barnsley) Loan
Sam Matthews (Eastleigh) Loan extension
Ollie Harfield (Boreham Wood) Loan
Aaron Ramsdale (Chesterfield) Loan
Ben Whitfield (Port Vale) Loan extension

Brighton & Hove Albion

In
Warren O’Hora (Bohemians) Undisclosed
Jurgen Locadia (PSV Eindhoven) Undisclosed
Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester) Loan

Out
Soufyan Ahannach (Sparta Rotterdam) Loan
David Ajiboye (Millwall) Loan
Jonah Ayunga (Poole Town) Loan
Charlie Ferguson (East Grinstead Town) Loan
Ben Hall (Notts County) Loan
Kazenga LuaLua (Sunderland) Free
Stefan Ljubicic (Bognor Regis Town) Loan
Jordan Maguire-Drew (Coventry City) Loan
Reece Meekums (Worthing) Loan extension
Jamie Murphy (Rangers) Loan
Mathias Normann (Molde) Loan extension
Rian O’Sullivan (Carshalton Athletic) Loan
Bailey Vose (Welling United) Loan

Burnley

In
Aaron Lennon (Everton) Undisclosed
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Spurs) Loan

Out
Dan Agyei (Blackpool) Loan
Tom Anderson (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
Jimmy Dunne (Accrington Stanley) Loan
Harry Flowers (Guiseley) Undisclosed
Josh Ginnelly (Tranmere Rovers) Loan
Luke Hendrie (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed
Alex Whitmore (Chesterfield) Undisclosed

Chelsea

In
Ross Barkley (Everton) Undisclosed
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) Undisclosed
Emerson Palmieri (Roma) Undisclosed

Emerson, pictured with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (chelseafc.com)

Out
Michy Batshuayi (Borussia Dortmund) Loan
Jake Clarke-Salter (Sunderland) Loan
Jordan Houghton (Doncaster Rovers) Loan extension
Todd Kane (Oxford United) Loan
Kenedy (Newcastle) Loan
Charly Musonda Jr (Celtic) Loan
Baba Rahman (Schalke) Loan
Ike Ugbo (MK Dons) Loan

Crystal Palace

In
Jaroslaw Jach (Zaglebie Lubin) Undisclosed
Erdal Rakip (Benfica) Loan
Alexander Sørloth (Midtjylland) Undisclosed

Out
Keshi Anderson (Swindon Town) Undisclosed
Andre Coker (Maidstone United) Loan
Noor Husin (Notts County) Undisclosed
Sullay Kalkai (Charlton) Loan
Freddie Ladapo (Southend United) Undisclosed

Everton

In
Cenk Tosun (Besiktas) Undisclosed
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) Undisclosed

Out
Ross Barkley (Chelsea) Undisclosed
Harry Charsley (Bolton Wanderers) Loan
Louis Gray (Carlisle United) Loan
Gethin Jones (Fleetwood Town) Undisclosed
Aaron Lennon (Burnley) Undisclosed
Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig) Loan
Boris Mathis (Northampton Town) Loan
Kevin Mirallas (Olympiacos) Loan
Sandro Ramirez (Sevilla) Loan
Antonee Robinson (Bolton Wanderers) Loan extension
Liam Walsh (Bristol City) Undisclosed

Huddersfield Town

In
Terence Kongolo (Monaco) Loan
Jack Payne (Oxford Utd) Loan recall
Alex Pritchard (Norwich City) Undisclosed

Out
Jack Boyle (Clyde) Loan
Dylan Cogill (Clyde) LoanFraser Horsfall (Kidderminster Harriers) Undisclosed
Danny Kane (Cork City) Undisclosed
Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Jack Payne (Blackburn Rovers) Loan
Ryan Schofield (AFC Telford) Loan
Tadhg Ryan (Released)
Cedwyn Scott (Dundee) Undisclosed

Leicester City

In
Fousseni Diabate (Gazalec Ajaccio) Undisclosed
Callum Wright (Blackburn Rovers) Undisclosed

Out
Andy King (Swansea City) Loan
Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow) Loan
Islam Slimani (Newcastle United) Loan
Raul Uche (Real Betis) Loan
Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester) Loan

Liverpool

In
Tony Gallacher (Falkirk)
Ryan Kent (Freiburg) Loan return
Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton) Undisclosed

(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Out
Cameron Brannagan (Oxford United) Undisclosed
Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) Undisclosed
Ovie Ejaria (Sunderland) Loan
Jon Flanagan (Bolton Wanderers) Loan
Marko Grujic (Cardiff City) Loan
Lloyd Jones (Luton Town) Undisclosed
Ryan Kent (Bristol City) Loan
Lazar Markovic (Anderlecht) Loan
Daniel Sturridge (West Brom) Loan
Matty Virtue (Notts County) Loan
Corey Whelan (Yeovil Town) Loan
Harry Wilson (Hull City) Loan

Manchester City

In
Jack Harrison (New York City) Undisclosed
Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao) Undisclosed

Out
Kean Bryan (Oldham Athletic) Loan
Isaac Buckley (Oxford United) Loan
Jacob Davenport (Burton Albion) Loan
Shay Facey (Northampton Town) Undisclosed
Jack Harrison (Middlesbrough) Loan
Marlos Moreno (Flamengo) Loan
Ashley Smith-Brown (Oxford United) Loan

Manchester United

In
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Leeds) Loan recall
Matej Kovar (FC Slovacko) Undisclosed
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) Swap
Matty Willock (Utrecht) Loan return

Out
James Wilson (Sheffield United) Loan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) Swap
Alex Tuanzebe (Aston Villa) Loan
Matty Willock (St Johnstone) Loan
Charlie Scott (Hamilton Academical) Loan
Demi Mitchell (Hearts) Loan

Newcastle United

In
Martin Dubravka (Sparta Prague) Loan
Kenedy (Chelsea) Loan
Islam Slimani (Leicester City) Loan

@NUFC

Out
Rolando Aarons (Hellas Verona) Loan
Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) Loan
Dan Barlaser (Crewe Alexandra) Loan
Kyle Cameron (Queen of the South) Loan
Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) Loan
Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) Loan extension
Lewis McNall (Gateshead) Loan
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) Loan
Henri Saivet (Sivasspor) Loan
Islam Slimani (Leicester City) Loan
Ivan Toney (Scunthorpe United) Loan
Callum Williams (Gateshead) Loan
Freddie Woodman (Aberdeen) Loan

Southampton

In
Guido Carrillo (Monaco) Undisclosed

Out
Marcus Barnes (Yeovil Town) Loan
Ryan Seager (Yeovil) Loan
Matt Targett (Fulham) Loan
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) Undisclosed

Stoke City

In
Moritz Bauer (Rubin Kazan) Undisclosed
Moussa Niakate (Paris FC) Undisclosed
Badou Ndiaye (Galatasaray) EUR16million
Kostas Stafylidis (Augsburg) Loan

Out
Jake Dunwoody (Curzon Ashton) Loan
Julien Ngoy (Walsall) Loan
Harry Souttar (Ross County) Loan
Josh Tymon (MK Dons) Loan

Swansea City

In
Andre Ayew (West Ham) Undisclosed
Andy King (Leicester City) Loan
Jack Withers (Boston United) Undisclosed

Out
Ryan Blair (Falkirk) Loan
Jay Fulton (Wigan) Loan
Adam King (Mansfield) Loan
Oliver McBurnie (Barnsley) Loan
Roque Mesa (Sevilla) Loan
Tyler Reid (Newport County) Loan
Joe Rodon (Cheltenham Town) Loan
Josh Sheehan (Newport County) Free
Jack Withers (Boston United) Loan

Tottenham Hotspur

In
Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain) Undisclosed

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura  (Rick Osentoski/AP Images for International Champions Cup)

Out
Luke Amos (Stevenage) Loan
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town) Loan
Marcus Edwards (Norwich City) Loan
Ryan Loft (Exeter City) Loan
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Burnley) Loan
Anton Walkes (Portsmouth) Loan

Watford

In
Pontus Dahlberg (IFK Gothenburg) Undisclosed
Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona) Loan
Dodi Lukebakio (Charleroi) Undisclosed
Didier Ndong (Sunderland) Loan

Out
Pontus Dahlberg (IFK Gothenburg) Loan
Brice Dja Djedje (RC Lens) Loan
Michael Folivi (Boreham Wood) Loan
Alex Jakubiak (Falkirk) Loan
Brandon Mason (Dundee United) Loan
Costel Pantilimon (Nottingham Forest) Loan
Charlie Rowan (Accrington Stanley) Loan
Isaac Success (Malaga) Loan
Ben Watson Released
Randell Williams (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan
Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield) Loan

West Bromwich Albion

In
Ali Gabr (Zamalek) Loan
Rekeem Harper (Blackburn) Loan return
Jonathan Leko (Bristol City) Loan return
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) Loan

Out
Tahvon Campbell (Forest Green Rovers) Loan
Shaun Donnellan (Yeovil) Undisclosed
Kyle Edwards (Exeter City) Loan
Kyle Howkins (Port Vale) Loan
Jasko Keranovic (Kilmarnock) Loan
Max Melbourne (Ross County) Loan
Dara O'Shea (Hereford FC) Loan extension
Tyler Roberts (Leeds) Undisclosed
Kane Wilson (Exeter City) Loan extension

West Ham United

In
Joao Mario (Inter Milan) Loan
Reece Oxford (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Loan return

Out
Reece Burke (Bolton Wanderers) Loan
Moses Makasi (Plymouth Argyle) Loan
Reece Oxford (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Loan
Diafra Sakho (Rennes) Undisclosed
Martin Samuelsen (Burton Albion) Loan