Ansu Fati Brighton transfer: How could the Seagulls line up with the forward

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati appears to be heading for Brighton in one of the surprise moves of this transfer window. It’s a coup for the Seagulls who look to have beaten off significant Premier League interest in the player. Here’s a look at how Brighton could line up with Ansu Fati.

The Barça academy graduate emerged as one of the most exciting teenagers in world football when he broke into the Catalan club’s first team in the 2019/20 season as a 16 year old. International recognition soon followed as Fati drew plaudits for his electric pace and technical skills.

However injury problems have sadly thwarted Fati’s development to the point where Barcelona have found it necessary to loan out arguably the most promising player to come through their academy since Lionel Messi. 

This is still something of a gamble for Brighton given the significant wages that the club will have to cover for an injury-prone player who many in Spain doubt will ever live up to his early promise. However if Brighton can help Fati get back towards his best form, they’ll be hoping this can turn into a win-win situation.

The player also deserves credit for choosing a move to a club with an attacking manager and a fantastic track record for developing young players, rather than a more obvious loan to one of the bigger Premier League clubs.

How could Brighton line up with Ansu Fati?

Fati on the left wing

Fati left winger

Ansu Fati’s most natural position is on the left flank, cutting onto his right foot. He’ll face fierce competition for the role at Brighton from the impressive Kaoru Mitoma but with the Seagulls in the Europa League, we can expect plenty of rotation from Roberto De Zerbi this term and the Italian will want two good options in every position if possible.

Although he’s still only very young, Fati has plenty of experience when it comes to European football having played in both the Champions League and Europa League for Barça. He’ll be familiar with the demands of playing two games per week and if De Zerbi does primarily see him as a left winger, it may be that Fati’s initial starting opportunities come in the Europa League and the EFL Cup, as Mitoma will be tough to dislodge from the Premier League side.

Fati as a number 10

Brighton line up with Fati

Ansu Fati’s shirt number at Barcelona was 10 with the youngster inheriting Lionel Messi’s prestigious jersey when the Argentine moved to PSG in 2021. That tells you just how highly Fati was rated at the time at Camp Nou and is also a nod to the player’s ability to be more than just a speedy wide player.

Brighton normally operate with a 4-2-3-1 with a number 10 who is responsible for getting forward and supporting the striker. De Zerbi doesn’t have one settled option for the role with Joao Pedro, Julio Enciso and Danny Welbeck all featuring in behind the main striker so far this season.

While it’s not a position he has really played at Barcelona who have typically utilised a 4-3-3 system during his time at the club, there may be games where Fati plays off Evan Ferguson or Danny Welbeck as a number 10. 

Fati as the striker

Fati as the striker

The addition of Ansu Fati also gives the Brighton boss a fresh option for the striker role. This is perhaps the least likely way the Guinea-Bissau born player will be used. He’s only 5 foot 10 inches tall and is of a very slender stature when compared to Ferguson or Welbeck so De Zerbi would need to tweak his tactics were he to use Fati through the middle.

However at his best, Fati is an instinctive finisher and certainly a more natural goalscorer than Welbeck. Across his whole career, Fati averages a goal every 146 minutes in La Liga which is really good going when you consider he has not had a consistent run in the team since his breakthrough season when he was just 17.