Premier League

Brighton should turn to the Championship to replace Bruno

 • by Thomas McIlroy
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Bruno is a Brighton and Hove Albion legend. There is not much doubt about that.

The 37-year-old has become part and parcel of the South Coast club since he arrived from Valencia in 2012, making more than 200 appearances for the Seagulls in that time.

But he can’t go on forever. Ezequiel Schelotto has come into the first-team in recent weeks, starting seven games since the beginning of February, and it looks as if he has taken over the mantle of being Chris Hughton’s first-choice right-back.

With back-up option Liam Rosenior barely featuring this season and out of contract in the summer, a right-back may well be on the former Newcastle United boss’ shopping list when the transfer window opens.

That’s despite Bruno signing a new contract earlier this week.

Indeed, in January Brighton were linked with a summer move for Léo Dubois upon the conclusion of his deal at Nantes, but the 23-year-old is now set to join fellow Ligue 1 side Lyon.

That means the Seagulls need to look elsewhere, but they need not look too far around Europe.

Buying from the Championship may not be en vogue, especially for a side that hasn’t been in the Premier League long. But two of the best right-backs in the division are coming to the end of their contracts and it would be a real surprise if no top-flight club took a gamble on them.

Fulham’s Ryan Fredericks has been heavily linked with West Ham United, while Southampton and Swansea City have been tipped to make a move too. Andy Yiadom, meanwhile, nearly joined Huddersfield Town last summer, but a failed medical scuppered that.

The Barnsley right-back has played 26 times in the league this season though, so there isn’t much doubt he is fit for match action despite his issues last summer.

Brighton should be considering both as they look to find a long-term right-back option to replace Bruno. They would be free transfers, so low risk, and both would be keen on proving their worth in the top flight.

But how do they compare to Schelotto and Bruno? We have had a look at their stats from this season.

Of course, it has to be taken into consideration that the statistics above are from the Championship rather than the Premier League, but both Fredericks and Yiadom make a considerably higher number of key passes per 90.

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They have also both created big chances, something that has evaded Bruno and Schelotto so far this season.

The Fulham man’s 2.06 touches in the opposition box will also excite fans of his next club, who know they would be getting an attacking full-back. The pair also have completed more take-ons than the Brighton duo.

In Schelotto, the Seagulls already have a first choice right-back, so they can afford to take a bit of a risk this summer. Fredericks and Yiadom haven’t played in the Premier League but will be cheap and have the potential to shine if given the opportunity – just look at Aaron Cresswell and Nathaniel Clyne.

West Ham and Southampton gambled on them and they ended up becoming England internationals.

The Fulham and Barnsley men deserve their chance in the top flight. Considering they would cost nothing, it is hard to argue against bringing in one of them as they slowly phase their legendary captain out as he gets older.

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