The Premier League is finally back on the 11th August and with that in mind, we’ve done a season preview of every club and their chances for the upcoming season. Here, we’ve taken a look at Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton & Hove Albion.
Last season: 6th
Top Scorer: Alexis Mac Allister (10)
Transfers In: Joao Pedro – Watford (£30m), Bart Verbruggen – Anderlecht (£16.3m), Adrian Mazilu – FCV Farul Constanta (£2.5m), Mahmoud Dahoud – FCV Farul Constanta (free transfer), James Milner – Liverpool (free transfer), Igor Julio – Fiorentina (14.5m)
Transfers Out: Alexis Mac Allister – Liverpool (£35m), Robert Sanchez – Chelsea (£25m), Abdallah Sima – Rangers (Loan), Haydon Roberts – Bristol City (free transferb), Kjell Scherpen – Sturm Graz (Loan)
First game: Luton Town (H)
Brighton continue to soar into uncharted territory, and this season’s European campaign – the first in the Seagulls’ history – will test squad depth like never before. Those who have masterminded the club’s recent rise from Premier League strugglers to top-six gatecrashers will be keen to avoid going backwards.
Having already lost Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool and Robert Sanchez to Chelsea, the uncertainty over the future of midfield general Moises Caicedo has been the only distraction for Brighton fans still basking in their unprecedented success.
One player that has been a mainstay in the Brighton side for a number of years is Lewis Dunk. He has since been a key figure in three different divisions, winning the Players’ Player of the Season award in 2018-19 and 2020-21, as well as the club’s overall Player of the Year award in 2019-20. More than 400 appearances later, and Dunk remains the heartbeat of the club, and he will be hoping for a successful campaign in order to improve his England prospects.
Joao Pedro has arrived for a club record of £30m, and at the time of writing, the Seagulls’ have agreed a deal in principle for Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus to bolster the squad in the hopes that De Zerbi’s side can juggle the weight of Europa League football alongside a successful Premier League campaign.
What would De Zerbi class as a successful season for Brighton? Improving on a sixth-place finish is going to be exceptionally difficult, especially with having European football to contend with too, but I believe if he can keep Brighton in the top 10, along with a deep run in the Europa League, most Seagulls fans would be happy with that.
The biggest challenge for Brighton to overcome is the Thursday-Sunday schedule and Brighton will anticipate taking a slight knock. This may damage their chances of emulating their 2022/23 campaign, especially with clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Aston Villa all making big strides over the summer and their eyes on securing European football.
Whatever happens, it will be intriguing to see how exciting talents like Facundo Buonanotte, Kaoru Mitoma, Julio Enciso and Evan Ferguson continue to develop under De Zerbi as he leads them into the unknown.