Wantaway Brighton striker denied £18m move as Champions League opportunity emerges

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Deniz Undav wants to make his loan to Stuttgart permanent and Stuttgart, who have an option to buy, want the Brighton attacker. So why hasn’t the transfer happened?

On the face of it, Undav’s loan to permanent transfer seems straight-forward but a deal now looks further away than ever due to a clever clause inserted by Brighton.

The 27-year-old Germany international – who joined Brighton for around £7m from Union SG in 2022 – enjoyed a fine season while on loan in Bundesliga. He netted 19 goals, claimed five assists and formed a lethal partnership with Guinea international Serhou Guirassy.

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Undav was key in firing Stuttgart to a second place finish and Champions League qualification and understandably the German outfit were keen to trigger the option to buy, which is said to be at around £18m.

Brighton striker Deniz Undav impressed on loan at VfB StuttgartBrighton striker Deniz Undav impressed on loan at VfB Stuttgart
Brighton striker Deniz Undav impressed on loan at VfB Stuttgart

But Undav remains contracted with Brighton until 2026 and, as reported by kicker, Brighton apparently added their own buy-back clause into the loan deal, which has all-but blocked Stuttgart’s attempt to make the move permanent.

It suggests the clause allows Brighton to re-sign Undav for slightly above Stuttgart’s purchase option. Which means Stuttgart could pay Brighton the £18m for Undav, but the clause could make them immediately sell back to Brighton for slightly more.

It’s a clever move that stacks all the odds in favour of Brighton’s poker playing chairman Tony Bloom. It means they can sell if they want to for the agreed option to buy fee, or they can keep hold of the player and try to persuade him to stay.

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The third option is to potentially sell Undav elsewhere for more than the option to buy fee… and that is now a high possibility as his value has rocketed following his fine season in the Bundesliga. A few goals for Germany at the Euros could see his profile and value increase further.

That option would see Stuttgart make a small profit, due to the buyback, but it does reduce the chance of Undav playing for Stuttgart next season – unless the Germans enter a bidding war with other interested clubs.

It’s contract clause that will no doubt frustrate Undav and Stuttgart but is another example of how well Brighton financially protect themselves while players are under contract with them.

It’s a transfer situation that could now take a while to play-out and may not be completed until after the Euros, which ends July 14.

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