After several seasons on the brink, Brighton & Hove Albion have finally secured a place in the Premier League. From play-off defeats at the hands of their most bitter rivals to final day heartbreak at the Riverside, the Seagulls have earned their spot in the bigtime. Today, we look at what they have to offer in terms of FPL options for the forthcoming season.
In terms of transfer activity, it’s been a relatively quiet window for Brighton & Hove Albion, with a few astute acquisitions in the process. It remains to be seen what further business Chris Hughton will look to complete before the coming campaign.
STAR MAN – Anthony Knockaert (6.0m)
There’s no debate to be had regarding the Seagulls’ star man. Anthony Knockaert was at the forefront of their Championship success, and was unlucky not to have fired his side to a title after a superb campaign. The dominative wide man scored 15 times last time out from a midfield position, which whilst in a lower division, makes him more than a match for those in his price bracket. Matt Phillips made 13 direct contributions, while Robert Snodgrass did the same. This really highlights the value in the Frenchman for FPL managers. Both afore mentioned are also priced at £6.0m. It would be interesting to see whether Brighton & Hove Albion are yet to add more firepower, as this may increase Knockaert’s assist potential massively. That’s not to take away from the potential of current forwards Glen Murray and Sam Baldock. Murray proved to be a superb value option at times during spell with rivals Crystal Palace.
During his time with Leicester City, Knockaert was often criticised over his inconsistency, although he has proved his doubters wrong over the past year, proving to be one of the Championship’s finest players. Few would have had the same motivation that the Frenchman has shown in recent seasons. Many will remember his famous play-off penalty miss at Vicarage Road which led to Troy Deeney’s famous winner. He then suffered the most unfortunate of setbacks last season, when his father passed away. He went on to dedicate his performances to the man who got him into football many years ago. It remains to be seen how he will adapt as he enters his second Premier League season, although he certainly represents a lot of potential.
HIDDEN GEM – Mathew Ryan (4.5m)
Having released their first-choice goalkeeper in David Stockdale, fans knew that the seaside club would be in search of a new shot stopper ahead of a vital first Premier League season. They wasted no time at all in securing the signature of Australia’s number one in Mat Ryan from Valencia. Fans will have no doubt been ecstatic to secure the signature of a young player from such a prestigious club. Also, the 25-year-old has vast experience for his age, having played in the top divisions of Australia, Spain and Belgium. Chris Hughton spoke of his delight at securing the signature of a player with such potential. He will have big gloves to fill, though, after Stockdale enjoyed a superb season, being named in the Championship team of the season.
Now, onto Ryan’s FPL potential. We have seen superb value from many newly-promoted goalkeepers in recent years. Examples such as Robert Green and Tom Heaton with QPR and Burnley respectively have proved that you can’t write off a stopper based on the club they play for. In terms of alternative options at the same price point, you only really have Ben Foster, Heurelho Gomes and Lukasz Fabianski. These have offered the occasional decent return in the past, but in terms of cheaper options there’s almost no chance that any keeper at the £4.0m price level will be starting come gameweek 1. Keepers often go under the radar as FPL managers fail to consider the potential impact a good keeper could have on their point potential on any given gameweek. The tendency for keepers playing for underdogs to gain bonus points also provides an added incentive to consider Ryan for your side.
BARGAIN – Solly March (5.0m)
Very few managers will have had Solly March in their initial drafts ahead of the coming FPL season. You won’t get much more of a bargain than a winger for just £5.0m who now appears to be on course to make the left week position his own ahead of the coming season. His recent injury woes have meant he’s gone under the radar as far as this season’s game is concerned, having started just nine matches towards the back end of last season. Having come through the club’s youth system, March has made himself a firm fan favourite with his brilliant mix of pace, skill and crossing ability. With a wand of a left foot, the England under-21 man is a terrifying prospect for even the best of defences.
It seems likely that Kazenga LuaLua will be loaned out again this season, while Jiri Skalak and a returning Jamie Murphy providing the only competition on that left-hand side. The club have been linked with a move for Chelsea youngster Izzy Brown, although Huddersfield remain the favourites for his signature. While many managers ponder £4.5m holding midfield options such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Nathaniel Chalobah, it may be worth finding the extra £0.5m to fit Solly March into your side.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Bruno – Dunk – Duffy – Suttner
Stephens – Kayal
Knockaert – Gross – March
If you have enjoyed this early view of the fantasy potential of AFC Bournemouth, be sure to check the other teams here.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)
Below is a preview we have done on our YouTube Channel too. Be sure to give it a watch and subscribe for more!