The 2016/17 season will unquestionably go down as one of the club’s most momentous campaigns to date, as it saw the Seagulls secure a place in the top division for the first time since the 1982/83 season. As they look forward to their first ever spell in the Premier League, we look ahead to ask what will lie in store for the side over the summer, and who they will be coming up against in the new season.
The first job for Chris Hughton is to secure a few key additions to the squad which will without question be required to make it at the top table of English football. In addition to penning new deals for a host of the club’s top players, among them Gaetan Bong, Dale Stephens and Bruno, Hughton has already signed German attacking midfielder Pascal Gross from FC Ingolstadt 04, who were relegated from the Bundesliga this season. The advanced playmaker, twenty-five, made thirty two appearances for the Bavarian side this season, creating more chances than any other player in the division, despite his side’s poor performances.
However, there are still undoubtedly areas to strengthen before the Seagulls can mount a serious bid to stay in the Premier League. Despite Bong’s new contract, the team still look decidedly thin at left back, with naturally right-sided Rosenior standing in on several occasions in the season just passed when Cameroonian Bong was injured.
The other area that Hughton seems to be looking to strengthen is up front, as he looks to supplement the options provided by Glenn Murray, Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed. An early player of interest appears to be Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who will be available on loan this season as his parent club seek to get him some experience of first team football at the highest level. The 6’4’’ nineteen year old scored 23 goals this season for Bristol City, earning their player of the year award, and looks a very good bet to emerge as a serious talent in the future. However, a move could be complicated by Rafa Benitez, who has been holding talks this week with the teenager in an attempt to take him to Newcastle, who pipped Brighton to the Championship title this season by a single point.
But outside of transfer talk, Brighton fans have a lot to look forward to. For many this represents the first opportunity in their lifetime to watch their team take on the English game’s very best. For others, appearing in the Premier League will mark the final chapter in the story of redemption that began with the side threatened with the twin perils of demotion from the football league and the loss of their then-home, the much loved Goldstone Ground. However the side performs in the season to come, it will undoubtedly make fascinating watching for anyone who has followed the seaside club, from near or far, over the last forty years.