Brighton confirm first major transfer of summer window with £8.5m deal – despite Arsenal and Man City interest

Brighton and Hove Albion beat off interest from Arsenal and Man City as they signed one of the finest young talents in South American football

Brighton and Hove Albion have signed Paraguay international Julio Enciso despite interest from Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester City
Brighton and Hove Albion have signed Paraguay international Julio Enciso despite interest from Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester City

Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of forward Julio Enciso, who joins from Paraguayan side Libertad Asuncion.

The 18-year-old South American – who signed for a reported £8.5m – has agreed a four-year contract until June 2026.

Sign up to our Brighton and Hove Albion FC newsletter

Albion were close to capturing Enciso in the previous window but the deal broke down due to personal terms.

This time however, they managed to complete successful negotiations and he will join up with the first-team squad when they report back for pre-season training later this month.

The attacker had also been of interest to Arsenal and Manchester City, according to Libertad president Ruben Di Tore.

Enciso said, “It is great to be here and I can’t wait to start training with the squad in a couple of weeks.

“Everyone in Paraguay watches the Premier League and it is one of the best leagues in the world. To be able to come to a Premier League club is a dream come true for me.

“I know I am going to have to work hard for my chance but I am looking forward to working with the coaches at Brighton and the other players and improving. It’s a great challenge for me, and I want to do myself and my family proud.”

Albion head coach Graham Potter said, “Julio is an exciting young talent, and he has had a great start to his career in Paraguay, as well as being a regular in the Paraguay national squad.

“He’s a young guy who is moving away from his home country for the first time, so we will help him to adapt to new surroundings and settle here in Brighton and Hove.

"We’re really looking forward to helping him develop and working with him, and he will complement our existing attacking options this coming season.”

Enciso arrives after an impressive season so far with Libertad, having scored 11 goals and laying on three assists in 14 league appearances.

He made his international debut for Paraguay in June 2021 at 17 and now has five caps to his name.