Premier League

Seagulls' decision to clip their wings an unneeded risk

 • by Sam McGuire
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Brighton and Hove Albion have taken a gamble. Quite a big one at that.

With the window to add to their squad closed, the Seagulls made the decision to loan out Jürgen Locadia and Florin Andone. 

The former started in the 3-0 triumph over Watford to kick off the Graham Potter era while the latter came off the bench to score the second that day.

Both looked set to play a part for Brighton this season. Both appeared to be ideal for the system being used by the former Swansea tactician. 

But the pair find themselves playing their trade way from the Amex along with Anthony Knockaert who joined Fulham in July.

The trio have strengths and weaknesses. You can debate how useful they’d be for Potter but, ultimately, it’s a risk to loan out three players who, on paper at least, fit in with what the new Brighton boss is trying to do. 

It now leaves Brighton with six first-teamers who could fill the attacking roles. Glenn Murray has 25 Premier League goals for the Seagulls but turns 36 this month. He can’t play every minute of every game.   

Neal Maupay arrived this summer and scored on his debut but there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to replicate his Brentford form immediately. Not when he’s playing in a different system – he’s tripled the number of aerial duels he’s competing for this season and he’s averaging fewer shots. 

Alireza Jahanbakhsh was considered to be quite a coup when he joined Brighton last summer but he failed to hit the heights he showed during his AZ Alkmaar days. He’s yet to score in the Premier League and yet to feature in the top-flight this season. His sole 90 minutes came in the EFL Cup against Bristol Rovers. 

Meanwhile, a series of knee injuries decimated José Izquierdo’s 2018/19 campaign. He’s still ruled out and it’s something of a guess whether or not he’ll be as impactful upon his return.

The Colombian was one of the star performers during the 2017/18 season and he appeared to be a player who could influence proceedings in the Premier League. But due to the uncertainty surrounding his injuries, he can’t be relied upon. 

Pascal Groß is one of the most underrated players in the English top-flight. He’s one of the bargains of the Premier League era, too, but he’s not the most prolific of attackers.

More of a creative force, Brighton will need him to be at the top of his game all while improving on his five-goal per season average if they’re going to have enough goals to avoid a relegation battle. 

Then there’s Leandro Trossard. The Belgian has started life with Potter’s men well, netting in the draw with West Ham in what was his debut for the club. But, like with Maupay, he might need an adjustment period. His first season could be full of highs and lows as he acclimatises to a new country, a new league and a new team. 

It’s hard to read into the performances from Brighton’s last two outings. Andone was sent off early on against Southampton which the changed the game while facing Manchester City is never an easy task.

But as things stand, Potter’s offensive options consist of a 35-year-old, two untested forwards in the English top-flight, one who struggled to adapt during the 12 months he’s spent in England and a creative attacking midfielder.

Brighton are already finding chances difficult to come by with their average expected goals per 90 total coming in at under one in all but one of the matches (vs West Ham). Their expected goals against total, meanwhile, has been over one in all but the Watford match.

Granted, the sample size isn’t the largest but parting with players who could make a difference in the final third seems like a gamble the club didn’t need to take.

The Seagull’s season may hinge on how quickly Maupay and Trossard find their feet.

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