Brighton wowed their supporters and neutrals alike with their dazzling football last season under Roberto De Zerbi, with the Seagulls securing European qualification for the first time in their history after a superb sixth-placed Premier League finish.
With the English top flight and the Europa League to juggle alongside both domestic cups next term, Albion will need to strengthen their squad considerably during the transfer window. Even though they have already completed deals for the likes of Joao Pedro from Watford, James Milner from Liverpool and Mohammed Dahoud from Borussia Dortmund, Brighton are still in the market for more recruits.
Departures were always expected, with Argentine talisman Alexis Mac Allister sold to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool early in the window for a £35m fee. This week then saw the Moisés Caicedo saga finally end after he completed a move to Chelsea. The British record transfer fee of £115m paid to Brighton for Caicedo will certainly help fund some new players, but time is running out.
Brighton’s scouting and recruitment has been at the highest level in recent years, with fans confident that any player that leaves the club will have a quality replacement ready to come in. It seems the well-oiled machine that is Brighton, will somehow again manage to delve into the world market to uncover further gems.
Let’s take a look at some of Brighton’s top transfer targets for the remainder of this 2023 summer window.
Eiran Cashin (Derby)
Despite inking some big deals in recent days, Brighton is still pushing to bring in fresh players before 11 PM on Friday – the official deadline for the summer transfer period. On that note, the Brighton transfer targets list has been boosted by the addition of Eiran Cashin recently. This is actually a move that Brighton has been pushing for previously, but they have yet to produce a successful bid for the 21-year-old center-back. So for the moment, Derby County is playing hardball with Brighton, although they are clearly willing to let Cashin go before the transfer window closes. After all, this is understandable since Cashin has been a Derby boy ever since he was a kid, as he is a graduate of the youth academy.
But with the promise of a move to the Premier League on the cards, if the price is right, I’ve every confidence that Eiran Cashin will sign for Brighton. Speaking of the price, recent reports indicate that Derby will not let Cashin go for less than £3 million. This is a fee that Brighton can certainly afford, yet the club may choose to go for a loan deal instead.
Of course, all of these specifics will become public knowledge as things progress over the next few days.
Amine Adli (Bayer Leverkusen)
Brighton are looking to pull off quite a remarkable ‘robbery’ at the moment. Now, I should probably stress that I don’t mean that literally. I simply state that Adli is a potential robbery because the French winger has been heavily linked with both Newcastle and Arsenal in recent days. Yet as the deadline day has edged ever closer, Brighton has now entered the race to bring Amine Adli to the club and sway him away from other Premier League offers. This move wasn’t really on the cards just a few weeks ago, but he has become one of the top Brighton transfer targets ever since Brighton suffered the injury blow involving Julio Encisco.
Of course, such injuries can come out of nowhere and impact any club, no matter what stage of the season we might be in. But with Brighton experiencing such a blow so early on, it’s likely that they are willing to go above and beyond to sign a guy like Adli. This could mean offering Bayer Leverkusen more than the estimated price tag of £15 million, although whether an offer like that is submitted remains to be seen.
Yet one thing is for certain, the addition of a 23-year-old winger like Amine Adli could immediately solve a potential problem for Brighton. Therefore, this is a possible deal that we will be monitoring closely as we approach the deadline day this Friday.
Mohammed Kudus (Ajax)
Arguably the best player for Ajax last season, Mohammed Kudus was a real positive light in what was a disappointing season for the Dutch side.
The Ghana international also showcased his abilities on the world stage with some impressive performances at the Qatar World Cup back in December 2022.
Kudus can play anywhere along the front line or as an attacking midfielder, his versatility and all round technical ability would make him a perfect fit for De Zerbi’s Brighton. This is a rumour that has been ongoing, with Brighton reportedly showing interest in Kudus very soon after the departure of Alexis Mac Allister.
A fee of around £40m is likely what Ajax would want for the 23 year old, and now with the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle now also interested, Brighton may have a battle on their hands for Kudus’ signature.
Carlos Baleba (Lille)
Moisés Caicedo seems like the most irreplaceable departure from Brighton this season, with a player of his style and ability being very hard to come by.
However, with Brighton’s recruitment policy in recent years, fans should be confident in their club finding another gem, with Carlos Baleba possibly being the next one on the list.
The 19 year old midfielder is from Cameroon and currently plays for Lille, where he made 19 appearances in Ligue 1 last season, mostly as a substitute. Despite his lack of experience, many big clubs around Europe have enquired about his services, but Brighton may be the team that can offer Baleba the most guaranteed minutes.
A fee of around £17m would be enough to entice Lille into a deal, with the player himself likely to look at De Zerbi’s player development record as a key factor in his decision.
Baleba is described as a midfielder with immense technical ability and footballing IQ beyond his years, which sounds like a great fit for this Seagulls side.
Valentin Barco (Boca Juniors)
It seems like the Brighton scouts are looking to Boca Juniors to once again provide them another star player for the future. After the success of Alexis Mac Allister’s move from Boca to Brighton, could Valentin Barco follow in his fellow countrymens footsteps.
Barco is just 19 years of age and plays as a left back but is said to have the ability to play anywhere down the left hand side of the pitch.
Interest in the youngster comes after 17 appearances for Boca last season, which has got the likes of Brighton and Manchester City interested. Certainly this would be one for the future at Brighton, but similarly to Baleba, Barco could be enticed by Brighton’s track record of youth development. He would be far more likely to earn minutes at the Amex rather than at City, and with Boca valuing the teenager at just £10m, it is a low risk option.
Brighton may be looking at more experienced options with European football looming this season, but they will not change their philosophy of youth development, so expect any deals completed before the end of the summer window to be a mixture of youthful prospects and first-team ready players.