Brighton & Hove Albion, who have cemented their position in the top half of the table, defeated West Ham 4-0 and followed that up with a draw at Elland Road to get into the top seven in the table, keeping hopes for European football at the Amex alive. Danny Welbeck, Joel Veltmann, Kaoru Mitoma, and Alexis McAllister all scored goals for a dominant Brighton squad that earned their most significant Premier League victory of the year against David Moyes’ struggling Hammers. This was accomplished without the support of Brighton manager Robert of Zerbi, who was barred from coaching for an FA match last month after receiving a red card during his team’s loss to Fulham at home.
But notably, Brighton has extra three games in hand as compared to others to make up for the deficit points. The team has been putting best efforts to qualify for Europe, especially with Brentford and Fulham playing well and Liverpool putting on a comeback.
The trajectory of Brighton’s net transfer spending over the course of their sixth straight season in the Premier League tells a compelling narrative. They made a loss of £65.26 million five years ago, but since then, those numbers have been gradually turning around, going from a loss of £65.26 million to £47.27 million in 2020 to £7.01 million in 2021 to changing the tide recording £3.11 million net profit in 2021 to £72.96 million in profit in 2022. The squad has been able to sell for greater money as their performance on the field has improved. Huge losses gradually transformed into a little profit, then a substantial one.
Even though they lost about £43.5 million in player sales during that time, their stats still seem quite well in comparison to those of other companies during the same period. Only Brentford, which lost just £790,000 over the past five years, has better stats among the 20 current Premier League teams. Spurs have lost £335.88 million, Newcastle has lost £353.6 million, Fulham has lost £197.11 million, and Chelsea has lost £701.97 million during the same time span as the teams next to them in the current standings. The Newcastle contrast is maybe the most startling of all. Although Newcastle’s player losses appear minor in comparison to Chelsea’s, it is important to keep in mind that over half of them, or £162.5 million, had occurred in the past year alone, when Brighton was turning a profit of about £73 million.
Dare to dream
Brighton deserves to be viewed as a contender, maybe even for a UCL spot, not merely for a spot in Europe by the end of the season. There will be much discussion about how Liverpool is “back” as a result of their recent performances, but despite losing their manager, a sizable portion of their backroom staff, some important players, and their director of football over the past few months, Brighton’s team hasn’t really changed much this season.
One of the most perplexing mysteries of this season is how Tottenham is still holding onto fourth place. But Brighton has three games left to play, and if they win them all, they will pass Spurs and move up to fourth place in the standings and the final Champions League position. Brighton supporters might not want to dare to hope, but the opportunity is now a very long way from impossible.
Yet despite the claims that teams with huge finances (and oftentimes no discernable transfer policy) regularly loot Brighton, the club has already been able to sign a few of its more well-known players to longer-term deals. In October, Alexis Mac Allister — now a World Cup champion with Argentina — signed a contract extension through 2025. Just before the West Ham game, it was announced that Moises Caicedo had also signed a new deal, theoretically tying him to the Amex until 2027. Of course, one or both of these players may go in the summer, along with others. If the cost is correct, it’s always possible. Yet even simply getting these two players to sign extensions strengthens Brighton’s hand in the transfer market in case vultures start to swoop in again during the summer.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Although it may not have evoked many screams of amazement throughout the nation, the FA Cup victory against Stoke was crucial. They have a great opportunity to get to a Wembley semi-final with a home game remaining against League Two Grimsby Town in the quarterfinals. They may even face the same opponents on the 40th anniversary of their only other major cup final appearance, with Manchester United still in the running and with a home draw.