With Manchester City ardent in their pursuit of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Marc Cucurella, the Seagulls have reportedly earmarked Man United full-back, Brandon Williams, as a potential replacement for the Spaniard. According to recent reports, Brighton are said to be planning a £15m swoop for the 21-year-old, with manager Graham Potter prepared to potentially re-invest a part of Cucurella’s resale value in a bid to bolster the left-back position.
Having spent a year on loan at Norwich City last season, Brandon Williams registered 29 league appearances for the Canaries. Despite accounting for 50 appearances for the Red Devils after a breakthrough 2019/20 campaign, the 21-year-old full-back found himself struggling for game-time following the arrival of Alex Telles and a resurgent Luke Shaw during the 2020/21 season. Williams has since registered only 14 appearances for United; missing out on the club’s 2022/23 pre-season tour owing to a minor issue, in addition to being unable to break into Erik Ten Hag’s plans for the upcoming season, hitherto.
Down the pecking order at Man United, Williams is likely to seek a move elsewhere this summer. With Southampton having also expressed an interest in his services, Brighton could be forced to make a swift move for the full-back. Moreover, with Cucurella said to have agreed on personal terms with Manchester City, the reigning Champions are expected to launch an improved offer for the player, with Brighton expected to sanction his sale before potentially moving for Williams ahead of the commencement of the new season.
A Versatile Full-Back
Whilst primarily deployed as a left-back, Williams is also comfortable operating as a right-back. After majorly impressing during his breakthrough season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United academy graduate has since majorly operated as a right-footed left-back, capable of engaging in and winning tenacious tackles whilst being adept at intercepting passes during defensive transitions.
Although Cucurella boasts superior potential, having been Brighton’s player of the year in his debut campaign with the club at the end of last season, given Potter’s track record of identifying and improving young talent, Williams is likely to benefit from a move to the Amex this summer. Moreover, with the possibility of receiving satisfying game-time at Brighton compared to United, the 21-year-old could undergo notable development; contributing to the team’s successes in upcoming seasons.
Whilst unlikely to establish himself at United in the immediate future, a stint at Brighton could see Williams fulfil his potential before seeking an ambitious club moving into the prime years of his career. Known for their proven track record in developing talent before sanctioning their dream moves, Brighton serves as a palatable environment for Williams to further progress his development while staying in Premier League.
Moreover, with Cucurella close to leaving the club, an opening at left-back offers the 21-year-old the tempting prospect of nailing down a starting spot under Potter for the upcoming season. Still boasting promising potential despite a hiccup in his development in recent campaigns, Williams will be keen on showcasing the best of his abilities, with the Seagulls expected to move for him following the expected departure of Cucurella in the coming weeks.