Brighton's shift in transfer strategy was badly needed and is now working

Brighton and Hove Albion’s opening goal in their impressive 2-1 victory at Villa Park was a reflection of the Seagulls’ current transfer policy.

Danny Welbeck joined on a free transfer during the summer and has made an instant impact
Danny Welbeck joined on a free transfer during the summer and has made an instant impact

32-year-old Adam Lallana, a free summer signing from Liverpool, assisted his first Albion goal when teeing up fellow summer arrival, 29-year-old Danny Welbeck.

It may seem far-fetched to believe that Welbeck’s first goal in Brighton colours came from a direct link of their transfer business, but following Dan Ashworth’s appointment as the club’s technical director in 2019, there has been a shift in the club’s recruitment policy.

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Across the club’s first season in the top-flight, the seagulls opted to spend high transfer fees on foreign exports who seemed to have large potentials.

Tariq Lamptey was brought in for £3m from Chelsea

For example, in January 2018 Jurgen Locadia arrived from PSV Eindhoven for over £15million pounds.

The then club-record signing failed to hit the ground running on the south coast and only scored three goals in 31 Premier League matches.

Locadia has since been loaned out twice, to Hoffenheim and FC Cincinnati respectively where, once again, he’s failed to live up to expectations.

Unless Graham Potter elects to give him an unlikely second chance at the club, the Seagulls are set to lose most of their investment in him.

Jurgen Locadia is currently on loan at FC Cincinnati. He signed for Albion for £15m - fives times more than Brighton paid for Tariq Lamptey

On the transfers of the former Locadia, Jose Izquierdo and Davy Propper alone, Brighton spent a combined £40.5million. Izquierdo and Propper performed well as Albion maintained their Premier League status at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, but both players have been hit with injury troubles and a lack of form which has resulted in continued omissions from the starting XI.

Alireza Jahanbaksh has also struggled since his big money arrival. The Iranian winger was brought to the club for £17million following a glittering season in the Eredivise, where he finished the campaign as the league’s top goalscorer.

For reasons similar to Locadia, Jahanbaksh has found game time hard to come by on the south coast. He is hindered by the fact he was signed by former manager Chris Hughton and doesn’t quite fit in with Potter’s change in playing style.

What may come as a frustration to Brighton fans is the flashes of brilliance they have seen from the winger.

Academy graduate Ben White is impressing in the Premier League with Brighton

Most notably his overhead kick scored at home in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Again, time will tell on his Seagulls tenure but it’s looking more likely he will be moved on for a sniff of what the club paid for him.

The signings of England internationals Welbeck and Lallana shows a different approach and perhaps the way forward for Albion.

Despite their long histories with injuries, both players arrive on the south coast relatively risk-free. Unlike the signings previously mentioned, the club knew exactly what they were getting with each, with both needing no time to adapt to the English game.

What makes the current strategy even more impressive is the fact that youth introduction still remains at the forefront of the club.

Solly March’s winning goal against Aston Villa showing once again that the club are reaping the rewards for believing and entrusting players from the academy.

Signings have also begun following this ethos, with Tariq Lamptey and Matt Clarke joining from Chelsea and Portsmouth respectively.

Lamptey has become a mainstay in Potter’s side, while also being one of the club’s most consistent and exciting players.

Clarke on the other hand has flourished on loan at Derby County, where he is currently in his second consecutive spell at the Rams.

Academy graduates such as Ben White, Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate are also learning and benefiting from integrating with experienced pros.

Connolly broke onto the scene last season by scoring a brace in the 3-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur but has limited this season due to injury issues.

Overall, the club believes it now has a model that will be self-sustaining while giving the club the quality to maintain their Premier League status.

On the first evidence seen last weekend, it looks to be working.