Brighton and Hove Albion secured two last minute signings before the loan window shut yesterday, bringing in Manchester United forward James Wilson and Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Rajiv van La Parra.
The Albion fought off strong competition from Premier League clubs for Wilson’s signature, tying him into a season-long loan deal that separates him from his parent club for the very first time.
La Parra’s deal is short term with his loan ending on the 2nd January, however the 24-year-old who featured 41 times for Wolves last season could be a vital addition over the Christmas period.
Despite the Albion’s positive position in the league table, the shortage in attack has been magnified over recent weeks as the south coast club racked up seven draws in their previous ten games. Only once this season have they scored more than twice in a game and have yet to blow a team away, with their biggest margin of victory being a single goal on nine occasions.
Pressure to bring in another striker had been building on Chris Hughton’s shoulders and fortunately for Albion fans, he delivered with power and purpose, securing a deal for United’s 19-year-old frontman who has attracted attention for his fine displays at Old Trafford.
The teenager is highly rated by fans of the Manchester club and his arrival at the American Express Community Stadium is a bold statement of promotion intent by the Seagulls, capturing a player that has been much sought after since making his Premier League debut in 2014.
His addition to Albion’s squad will complement the attacking options Hughton already has at his disposal, joining Sam Baldock, Bobby Zamora and Tomer Hemed as the main strikers leading the line for the promotion chasers this season.
With Kazenga Lua Lua still sidelined after his stunning start to the season, La Parra will supply competition in the wide areas, putting pressure on Solly March and Jamie Murphy to perform and keep their place within the starting line-up.
La Parra hasn’t featured for Wolves since the end of October as he’s struggled to hold down a place in the team, however he’ll be hoping to hit the ground running in a team brimming with confidence that remain unbeaten in the SkyBet Championship.
Pace is the attribute that screams out of Hughton’s double capture, something that was clearly missing from Albion’s final third at Burnley last weekend. The youthful theme to Hughton’s recent recruitment is no surprise as he looks to inject energy and enthusiasm into Albion’s attack.
Out of the two, Wilson is more likely to walk straight into the starting line-up against Birmingham City tomorrow afternoon and if he does, Hughton will decide between Tomer Hemed and Bobby Zamora to partner the young forward up top.
Zamora is more likely to keep his place, with Hemed suffering from a barren spell in front of goal that hasn’t seen him hit the net since the 2-1 victory over Rotherham United in September.
La Parra may have to settle for a place on the bench but no doubt his pace will be called upon as the player’s wear in the later stages of the contest, as Hughton seeks creativity from the Dutch youngster.
Albion will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to 19 games, secure three points and maintain the stimulating vibe around the club, as two exciting players jump on board and join the hotly contested battle for promotion.