Brighton & Hove Albion have already made good early progress in this summer’s transfer window. They have secured the services of Nigerian defender Leon Balogun from Bundesliga club Mainz on a free transfer.
Then they added a bit of attacking firepower by signing long-term transfer target, Florin Andone from Deportivo La Coruna for a fee in the region of £5 million. This was considered as a great bit of business as last summer, they nearly signed Andone for a fee of around £17 million.
The big question is how they both fit into Brighton formations that Hughton has implemented last season and below is the answer to what the team could look like with them in it:
The Seagulls used the 4-4-1-1 for a large majority of last season with a great deal of success. Both Balogun and Andone could fit into this system well. Balogun may come in as a centre-half for either Lewis Dunk or Shane Duffy, although that is highly unlikely considering the incredible form of Dunk and Duffy and how the only time they have not played together is due to injury or for cup games.
This will probably mean that Balogun’s most likely way to start would be by playing at the right-back. With Bruno getting towards the end of his career and Ezequiel Schelotto being a bit inconsistent towards the end of the last season, it means Balogun would stand a great chance of playing there as a big physical right-back who would be tough to get past.
Andone’s place in the team may be a bit easier to work out. He would be vying for the lone striker spot with the top goalscorer from the last season, Glenn Murray and club-record signing Jurgen Locadia. Andone would have a bit of an advantage over Murray and Locadia.
This is due to the fact that Murray is now 34 and although he still knows where the back of the net is, he is not quite as fast as he used to be. Add to this the fact that Andone would be linking up with Albion’s player of the season, Pascal Gross, the striker could well thrive with the service and vision Gross possesses.
Then you have Locadia, who is not really being considered for playing the lone striker role. Though he is very quick and has a good finish on him, he is nowhere near as good in the air as Murray. Andone has played upfront on his own for Deportivo a number of times and would offer more pace than Murray and would be better in the air than Locadia, meaning he could be a perfect fit into this system.
On one occasion against Chelsea at home, manager Chris Hughton tried out the 3-5-2 system with Connor Goldson lining up alongside Dunk and Duffy. Balogun could be a perfect fit into the 3-5-2 system if he plays on the right side of the back three, Dunk on the left side and Duffy in the middle. That would be quite a solid option for Hughton to try in pre-season and see how it may work.
Andone would also fit well into this system because he could then go up top with either Murray or Locadia. Murray and Andone could work out an effective “big man-little man” combination and the Romanian international could get on the end of Murray’s knock-downs.
However, Andone and Locadia would also be a great alternative as they both are young with Andone being 25 and Locadia 24. This means it would be a youthful, pacey and prolific strike force, that, with a bit of work over pre-season, could be the perfect option for Hughton to look at.
It remains to be seen which formation Hughton opts for in the next season and whether it is effective enough to make the Seagulls continue their stay in the top flight for another term.