Brighton must weigh up Yves Bissouma transfer gamble after £67m record financial loss

Chairman Tony Bloom insists he will press on with his aim of establishing Brighton as a top 10 Premier League club despite announcing record losses for the 2019-20 season

Brighton's losses increased against the previous season, and turnover was also down, as the club’s accounts were impacted by the global pandemic, which arrived during the second half of the campaign.

Turnover dropped to £132.9m, against £148.2m in 2018-19 – and there was an increase in losses to £67.2m from £21.2m. The wage bill across the company for the year showed a minor increase to £103.2 million.

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Despite the gloomy looking figures, Brighton do not appear to be a position where they have to sell key players such as Ben White and Yves Bissouma.

White remains one of Albion's main assets.The classy defender was on loan at Leeds last season and Marcelo Bielsa's team made three offers to sign White last summer.

Their third and final bid was said to be just short of £30m but Brighton held firm and 23-year-old has now established himself as a key player in the Premier League with Albion.

The temptation to sell last must have been great, especially as Bloom knew the club were due to report significant losses.

Albion's other prize and most valuable asset is midfielder Yves Bissouma who has been excellent this season. The Mali international joined in 2018 for £15m but has been heavily linked with a move away from the Amex.

Yves Bissouma has been excellent for Brighton this season and continues to be linked with a move away from the Amex

His agent Michael N'Cho says there is 'significant interest' in his client with Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Monaco and Real Madrid all said to be keen.

Arsenal are favourites to sign Bissouma as he could team up with former Lille players Gabriel Magalhaes and Nicolas Pepe.

The Gunners paid Atletico Madrid £45m last October to land Ghanaian international Thomas Party – a similar fee for Bissouma would ease financial pressure at Albion.

Bloom however remains upbeat. Brighton are determined not to be a selling club and will continue to invest in order to establish themselves and be competitive at the highest level.

Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom

"[It was] One of the most challenging in our club's history," said Bloom in his annual statement. "During the second half of the season, the world was in the grip of a devastating global pandemic that changed so many aspects of life in so many ways - football included."

There was also a shortfall in commercial revenues, caused by the impact on television monies and gate receipts – with the club playing five home games behind closed doors – as well as additional shortfalls in catering and merchandise income, plus a number of additional and unexpected costs during the lockdown and return-to-play periods.

The club also budgeted for an increase in losses, due to investments in recruitment, with increases in player wages and transfer fees.

Bloom said: "I was pleased with our player recruitment, making significant investments in Adam Webster and Neal Maupay in the summer. In January, we were very excited by the signing of super-quick Tariq Lamptey.

"What has been equally impressive has been the flow of talent from the academy, with many of our young players gaining valuable experience out on loan and others getting regular minutes in the first team.

"Last season, Steven Alzate and Aaron Connolly both established themselves in the Premier League, and I am delighted other recent academy players Ben White and Robert Sanchez are also now playing a significant number of Premier League games."

"Our vision is to be a top-ten Premier League club," said the chairman.

"We will achieve this by working together with smart recruitment in all areas, a productive academy, world-class facilities, and a sustainable budget."