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Given next to no hope of staying up by neutrals, Brighton & Hove Albion‘s impressive first half of their maiden Premier League season has almost gone under the radar.
Guided by the steady hands of Chris Hughton, the Seagulls are comfortably in mid-table but will be wary that the congested nature of the top flight means the bottom three are by no means out of sight.
Having set themselves up to be hard to beat, Brighton have laid the foundations from which to build, though the 5-1 home shellacking by Liverpool shows there are still vulnerabilities, however impressive Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy are at centre-back.
Having invested shrewdly in the summer, Albion boss Hughton will expect to be handed more cash to make adjustments next month as Brighton look to secure a second season in the Premier League.
And in order to get a handle on what Seagulls fans are thinking ahead of the transfer window opening on January 1, we canvassed the opinion of Brighton fans Scott McCarthy from We Are Brighton and Ryan Adsett from Talk Seagulls.
Which areas do Brighton need to strengthen in January and why?
SM: We need a striker. We've somehow got away with only having two fit senior forwards in Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed in the first half of the season, but that luck won't hold in the second. Quality and quantity up top is desperately needed.
Name three realistic transfer targets you would like Brighton to sign in January and who should they replace in your starting XI?
SM: Theo Walcott on loan would solve the striker problem and allow him to play regular football in a World Cup year.
The same goes for Peter Crouch – a proven Premier League performer who wants first team football. He could thrive with the way Hughton sets us up, particularly with two wingers and plenty of crosses into the box.
Davy Pröpper and Dale Stephens have started every league game in central midfield so far so we need another option in there. We tried to sign Renato Neto from Gent in the summer but he failed a medical so going back in for him if he is now fit would make sense.
RA: Three realistic targets would be a right-back, a strong centre-back and a striker.
The main one is a striker, as we lack firepower. Moussa Dembélé has been linked from Celtic – he would be perfect.
What is your number one fear for January?
SM: Lewis Dunk leaving would be a blow but centre-back is probably where we are strongest and my gut feeling is no top-six side would take a chance on him after less than 20 Premier League games for the money we would want.
RA: My number one fear for January is that we don’t get the striker we so clearly need, or we sign the wrong man.
Either could leave us in big trouble, facing a serious relegation battle come the end of the season.
What would your dream January transfer window look like?
SM: At least one striker coming in, ideally two, and some more options in midfield.
While most clubs hate the January window we've actually done some of our best work in it with Matt Upson, Leonardo Ulloa and Anthony Knockaert all arriving in previous years and the club needs to pull a similar rabbit out the hat this time.
RA: My dream January transfer window would see us sign a solid central midfielder to hold our team together – an N'Golo Kanté type of player – and a strong, pacy striker who is prolific in front of goal to ensure we don’t have that relegation fear at the end of the season.