Brighton transfer chief explains how they signed Tariq Lamptey from Chelsea

Little fuss was made on deadline day last January when Brighton nipped in to sign young Tariq Lamptey from Chelsea for just £3m.

Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 4:38 pm
Brighton's flying wing back Tariq Lamptey has impressed this season in the Premier League

It appeared Albion had added a player to their squad with great potential but very few expected him to have a positive impact in the first team so quickly.

Lamptey made his Premier League debut for Brighton shortly after the first lockdown last June, during an otherwise forgettable 0-0 draw at Leicester.

It was an impressive and bruising introduction for the 20-year-old as the former Chelsea man took some hefty blows from the Leicester defence and also showed glimpses of what was to come.

Tariq Lamptey made his debut for Brighton at Leicester last June

Lamptey kept his place in Graham Potter's team and has quickly established himself as Brighton's main man on the right flank.

His marauding displays in the top flight earned him a call-up to the England under-21s and some have suggested he could soon force his way into Gareth Southgate's senior squad.

His skill, pace and confidence gives Albion a completely new dimension to their team and excites the fans. Many pundits have heaped praise on 5ft 4in tall wing-back, with Wayne Rooney urging his former club Man United to act swiftly and sign him now.

Bayern Munich and Manchester City are also said to be keeping a close watch on the progress of Lamptey, who is also eligible to play international football for Ghana.

Tariq Lamptey celebrates his first goal for Brighton at Tottenham

Brighton will be determined to keep their bargain purchase and technical director Dan Ashworth, who can be forgiven for patting himself on the back since last January, feels Lamptey's bold decision to leave his boyhood club has been vindicated.

"His pathway was blocked by a super, young player in Reece James who was in his position at Chelsea," said Ashworth.

"Tariq thought he might need to look to play his football somewhere else. We were lucky enough to take advantage of that and give him an opportunity to play.

“You can only play 11 people at a time, you can only give a pathway to a certain amount of people at a time and keep a certain amount happy.

Tariw Lamptey was sent-off at Villa Park after clashing with Jack Grealish

“This happens on a regular basis at all clubs, it just so happened that we had an opportunity where a couple of our right-backs were coming to the end of their contracts.

"[Ezequiel] Schelotto was out of contract and [Martin] Montoya was leaving.

“We had a space coming up and maybe we had a chance to give Tariq some games and exposure and he has taken it with both hands.

"You don't quite know what you have got with a young player until you chuck them in and give them a go.”

Lamptey had been on Ashworth’s and Albion's head of recruitment and analyst Paul Winstanley's radar for a number of years, prior to his arrival in January.

“I have known about Tariq from my England days and Paul Winstanley flagged him in the under-23s league.

"We knew that his contract was running down at Chelsea and we knew that they would offer him a new contract.

“But it was a situation where I guess he had seen Reece James who is a similar age, who is a top player by the way and an England right-back, blocking his path.”

Lamptey scored his first goal for Albion during the narrow 2-1 loss at Tottenham last month but it hasn't been all smooth sailing as he was sent off at Aston Villa for two bookings in quick succession.

He was suspended for the 1-1 draw against Liverpool and Brighton missed his pace against the Premier League champions.

"It is something he will learn from," said Albion head coach Graham Potter. "Tariq has done really well for us. He is an important part of what we are trying to do.

“He has got some incredible attributes and we try to use them the best we can."

Lamptey was straight back in the team for the painful 2-1 home loss to Southampton on Monday and Brighton are now just four points above the drop zone with 10 points from 11 matches.

He returns to the venue of his Brighton debut this Sunday as they travel to fourth placed Leicester. Last June doesn't seem that long ago but so much has happened to him since.

The King Power is the stadium where many Brighton fans first realised that in Lamptey, they really do have a talent on their hands.