Despite the Championship season having only just ended, EPL newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion have already signed their first player of the summer. 25-year old midfielder Pascal Gross has signed from Bundesliga outfit Ingolstadt, and will arrive in time for pre-season training (subject to international clearance, of course).
If Brighton are serious about surviving in the EPL, however, this signing will need to be the first of many that add depth, diversity and experience to their squad. So, who else should the Gulls look to sign as they look to make the difficult transition from Championship to EPL side?
- Jermaine Defoe, Sunderland
Brighton have been initially linked with Crystal Palace’s injury-plagued striker Frazer Campbell, who is soon to be out of contract. If fully fit this represents a good deal for the Gulls, especially when you consider Campbell’s pedigree as a former Manchester United Academy graduate and the success he has enjoyed with the Eagles and Cardiff City.
If Brighton really want a seasoned hit-man, however, they should turn their attention to Sunderland’s Jermaine Defoe. He is also available for free, while he managed to plunder 15 Premier League goals last team despite playing in an ailing team that managed just 28 overall.
He would suit Brighton’s style of play well, and could offer a focal point that helps them to stay in the division. The Gulls will face serious competition, however, with former clubs Bournemouth and West Ham ready to offer huge wages to secure the England strikers’ services.
- Michael Carrick, Manchester United
It seems as though the Manchester United veteran is poised to sign a one-year contract extension, but this deal will not be confirmed until some time after the club’s Europa League final clash with Ajax. Amongst the tipsters at least, there is talk about a potential Brighton move.
Michael Carrick would certainly make a spectacular capture for Brighton, however, and not least because his ability on the ball would compliment the club’s style. Carrick is also an experienced player and a proven winner, while his positional sense and tactical awareness also make him the perfect foil for a side that is bound to come under pressure at times next season.
With his contract at United coming to an end this June, he is likely to be watched closely by the bookies too. Punters are currently being kept busy with offers like this Bet365 matched bet, but an outside chance on a Carrick deal may bring a new dynamic to this summers’ odds.
Even with this of course, the midfielder would only represent a short-term solution at Brighton (and a costly one at that), but his pedigree would certainly boost the club’s chances of survival.
- Eldin Jakupović, Hull City
While the often heroic performances of Sunderland’s keeper Jordan Pickford failed to keep the Mackems in the EPL, they certainly helped to secure some additional points for the club. This underlines the importance of a good goalkeeper, who can often make a significant difference for struggling teams at the wrong end of the table.
This may be particularly important for Brighton, with current keeper David Stockdale refusing to sign a new deal with the Gulls.
In this respect, Eldin Jakupovic of Hull City may represent a viable option. The Hull stopper was integral to the club’s revival during the second half of the season, and while the Tigers may have ultimately been relegated their custodian has certainly done enough to remain in the top flight.
He would serves as an excellent signing for Brighton, who need a talented and experienced goalkeeper to organise their defensive line.