It’s the end of January and the transfer window is about to slam shut and business needs to be done quickly. Brighton sit eighth in the Championship table, four points outside the play-offs with a game in hand. It could go either way. It’s make or break time as it were.
At the time of writing, Brighton have sold Liam Bridcutt, Adam El-Abd and Ashley Barnes and brought in development player Jeffrey Monankana and Jon Obika on loan. Not the window Brighton fans had in mind, but is it all bad? Yes.
Bridcutt is a loss. He was a very important player. There’s a reason he was our player of the season for two campaigns running. However, this year he’s been injured pretty much all season and our team hasn’t hankered for him like it would have last season. It would have been a disaster in previous years, but this season Rohan Ince has emerged. Ince has been quality and shows all the right attributes to be our next great in the defensive ‘hole’. He’s big, strong and fast; he’s young and hungry and he’s good in the air. Also, we signed Bridcutt on a free from Chelsea so have made a cool £3M profit. Bonus.
The loss of Ashley Barnes is a real loss because we have no real replacement. Barnes was definitely a marmite player for the fans at the Amex Stadium, but no matter what you thought of him he was influential. However, we bought him for peanuts from Plymouth and we’ve sold him for a rumoured £850k. Fantastic business from Oscar Garcia as long as we replace him.
The departure of Adam El-Abd was a big blow for all of us Brighton fans. He’d been there for twenty years and was a massive character. However, he was a back-up player. We have Matt Upson, who is having the season of his life, alongside Gordon Greer, who is club captain and has been for the last three years. Add to that Lewis Dunk, someone who Arsenal were rumoured to be looking at a year ago, and I’d say that we’re alright.
This transfer window is definitely not a disaster. It’s been good for us to get some money in as we seem to be the only team playing under the FFP this year. Having said that, we need cover for recently injured Andrew Crofts and the aforementioned players. It would be fantastic if we could bring in Craig Conway from Cardiff. He had a loan spell early in the season and he was brilliant. He’s a great winger, he can put a great cross in and that’s key for our marksman Leo Ulloa who has been lacking support this season. There’s a rumour that we’re in for Dale Stephens from Charlton too. I love that rumour. He’s a hard-working midfielder, who can score goals. Exactly what we need.
We have money to spend, we’re capable of making the play-offs and we've got a fantastic manager who has been working with a thin squad all season. Encouraging signs.