João Pedro (att) Watford; Bart Verbruggen (gk) Anderlecht; Igor (def) Fiorentina; Adrian Mazilu (att) FCV Farul; James Milner (mid) free; Mahmoud Dahoud (mid) free; Steven Alzate (mid) Standard Liège – on loan;
Alexis Mac Allister (k) (mid) Liverpool; Reda Khadra (mid) Reims; Haydon Roberts (def) released; Levi Colwill (sp) (def) Chelsea – end of loan; Deniz Undav (sp) (att) Stuttgart – on loan; Robert Sanchez (sp) (gk) Chelsea
After a solid start to last season, Graham Potter departed Brighton to succeed Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea. Despite this seemingly being a huge blow for Brighton, his successor Roberto De Zerbi did an impressive job, improved the team and secured Europa League participation for the first time in the club’s history after finishing sixth in the Premier League.
Brighton lost arguably their most quality player in Mac Allister, who joined Liverpool in the summer. Meanwhile, they signed experienced James Milner and talented Mahmoud Dahoud on a free to strengthen their midfield. They also spent big and broke their transfer record to lure João Pedro to Brighton, adding another versatile player who could feature in various positions upfront. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen arrived from Anderlecht to compete with Jason Steele for the spot between the posts.
Despite losing Mac Allister, Brighton have repeatedly demonstrated that they can cope with departures of important players or even coaches. Yet, with Moises Caicedo’s future being up in the air, we could see a different midfield featuring new signings Dahoud and Milner, or even Billy Gilmour to partner Pascal Gross.
Having netted 72 goals in 38 games last season, Brighton boasted the fourth-best attack in the league after Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City. They do have one of the most talented attacking lines featuring Solly March, Julio Enciso, Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson.
Brighton did impress in the final third last season, but they looked sloppy at times in defence. As many as 10 teams conceded fewer goals than De Zerbi’s side and the Italian coach will be called to work on his team’s defensive frailties ahead of next season.
It’s interesting to see how Brighton will cope with having to compete in Europe while trying to push for another top-six finish, which should be their main objective.