Brighton and Hove Albion have already made good strides in the first few weeks of the transfer window, having signed Pascal Groß, Josh Kerr and Matt Ryan.
The first to sign was Groß, the 26-year-old German attacking midfielder which, was a signing that came out of nowhere. Groß broke through 1899 Hoffenheim’s youth system in 2008 and in a three-year spell at the club, he made five appearances for their first team and 17 appearances for their second team scoring four goals.
In 2011, he then moved to Karlsruher SC but was only there for a year. In that time, he made 25 appearances for the first team scoring three goals and 11 appearances for their second team scoring one goal. In 2012, Groß then moved to FC Ingolstadt 04 and in a five-year spell at the club made 158 appearances for the first team scoring 17 goals and a single appearance for their second team.
The midfielder has also been capped for Germany at U18 and U19 level. The German will fill the number 10 that Chris Hughton has been looking to sign for a year with the club missing out on Alex Pritchard to Norwich last season.
Kerr was next to sign on a free transfer from Celtic. The 19-year-old Scottish defender started his youth career at Hamilton in their U17’s. In the 2013/14 season, he joined Celtic and played for their U17’s and then progressed into their U20’s.
The 2015/16 season saw Kerr spend the first half of the season on loan at East Kilbride FC before then returning to Celtic to continue his development in their U20’s. Kerr then rejected a new contract at Celtic before signing for The Seagulls in which he will play for their U23’s but judging from his progress so far in just a handful of years, I don’t think it will be long before he breaks into the senior squad.
This is because of the fact he has experience of playing in the UEFA youth league with Celtic where he came up against Barcelona and Manchester City youth. The 19-year-old is a versatile player as he can play across the whole of the defence and looks to be a good addition to The Albion ranks.
The last of the three signings is Ryan. He broke into senior football in the 2009/10 season when at Blacktown City where he made 11 appearances. In 2010, he then moved onto the Central Coast Mariners where he made 80 appearances in a three-year spell at the club. In addition, he won awards including the NAB Young soccer player of the Month in his debut season.
He also kept 12 clean sheets in his debut season at the Mariners. At the end of a solid spell with the Mariners the day before his contract expired, he joined Belgian giants Club Brugge. In just two years he made 77 appearances and after winning the Belgium Pro League Goalkeeper of the year in both 2013/14 and 2014/15 season it was no surprise he was on the move again.
This time he joined Valencia in 2015 penning a six-year deal at the club. But Ryan was only able to appear 10 times for the Spanish club as he was kept out the squad by Brazilian keeper Diego Alves. Then in January of last season, he joined Genk on loan for the remainder of the season.
The 25-year-old Australian made 17 appearances for Genk including some in the UEFA Europa League. The keeper has also been capped 6 times for Australia U23’s and 35 times for the Australian national team.
The Albion signed Ryan for a club record fee and offered him a five-year deal. The keeper will be a great addition to the squad having experience both internationally and at club level and for me could become one of Brighton’s biggest assets if he continues to improve at the rate he is.