Brighton can survive the drop with ‘middle market’ signings, says Chris Hughton

first_imgChris Hughton insists Brighton can hold their own in the Premier League by targeting “middle market” signings while the big clubs flex their financial muscle.Brighton have broken their club transfer record twice in one week to draft in Davy Propper from PSV Eindhoven and Club Brugge’s Jose Izquierdo, subject to medical and international clearance.The Seagulls will host big-spending Manchester City for their Premier League debut on Saturday, with manager Hughton tipping Pep Guardiola’s men as strong title contenders.Hughton has insisted Brighton must ignore any gulf in financial clout however, citing Burnley and Bournemouth as examples of how to carve out a Premier League niche on a budget.“I think Manchester City will be right up there challenging for the title,” said Hughton.“It’s very difficult when you see the spending of some clubs in the summer, Manchester United of course and Chelsea who will be right up there.“But with the quality City have got I would expect them to be very strong title contenders.“Given the transfers, I think what you do is you try to assess almost a middle market.“There are some transfers that have gone ahead so far that are so above our levels you almost have to disregard them.“But what the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City can do, they can do that and good luck to them.“It shows a real intent to want to be the best they can, win the title and ultimately of course it’s about the Champions League as well.“So we have to disregard most of it, because it’s something that we can’t affect.“But there’s no doubt that the level of transfer fees have increased dramatically.“But they are for wonderful players, so good luck to them if they can do that.“We probably have to concentrate on the levels that we can affect.“For us there are some great examples of teams that have gone up and stayed up.“So yes we’ll look at as many good experiences as we can do, and that’s for the whole of the season, not just the start.“You’ve got to be able to overcome those difficult experiences that are going to come in this league.”Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola guided City to a third-place finish in his first campaign in the north west last term.But now Hughton believes the Spaniard can put those experiences to good use to push his side firmly into title contention.“He’s learning all the time, and I don’t think anybody can dispute what a brilliant manager he is,” said Hughton of Guardiola.“But he’s also very humble about himself, he’s also still learning the country and Premier League, and hence that’s why he’s brought in the level of players he has.“It’s to try to put them in a better position to win the title.” Chris Hughton 1last_img read more

No better defenders than Lovren?! Here are 15!

first_imgLiverpool Nobody better than Lovren?! The 15 defenders Liverpool could have signed this summer Goal Last updated 2 years ago 23:00 10/27/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(7) Dejan Lovren Liverpool Getty Liverpool Jürgen Klopp Premier League Tottenham Hotspur Jurgen Klopp insisted there were no centre-backs available who could have improved his defence, but Goal lists 15 better options than Dejan Lovren After having to haul Dejan Lovren off just 30 minutes into last week’s 4-1 defeat to Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp can no longer deny that Liverpool erred in not signing another centre-back in the summer.“Look out there and tell me five that would make us stronger. Five. Then, you win a prize,” he challenged journalists in August, but he even he admitted after Sunday’s capitulation at Wembley that he would have been better off playing himself in defence against Spurs.“The first goal would not happen if I am on the pitch, in my trainers,” he said after the humiliating loss to Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Lovren was at fault for Tottenham’s first two goals and the Croatian’s blunders continued until he was finally put out of his misery just after the half-hour mark when Klopp replaced the Croat with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.Huddersfield +2 11/10 v LiverpoolDefensive errors are an ongoing issue for a side that had already conceded three times at Watford and five at Manchester City before the meeting with Spurs. Indeed, Liverpool hadn’t shipped 16 goals in their opening nine league games for 52 years, which only makes Klopp’s decision to stick with the defenders he had all the more baffling.Dejan Lovren LiverpoolIndeed, although the push for Virgil van Dijk came to nothing due to Southampton’s refusal to sell, Liverpool had ample targets to pursue.“We watched all of the [potential signings] 500 million times,” Klopp said last month. “It’s not that we ignore it. I said if there would have been a solution out there we would have done it. I had to make a decision and the decision was our boys are not worse than them.”But as his defenders continue to be brutally exposed on an almost weekly basis, Goal can easily think of 15 defenders better than Lovren & Co.Stefan De Vrij LazioLazio centre-back Stefan de Vrij is out of contract at the end of the season and has attracted interest from Juventus. Liverpool had been linked to the Netherlands international in the close season and having developed in his time in Italy, he would have been a good option to bolster the back line. Snapping him up on a free this summer looks beyond the Reds now, as he looks set to renew his contract with Lazio.After talks over a new deal with Roma came to nothing, Kostas Manolas looked set to join Zenit St Petersburg in the summer. The Greece international snubbed the Russian side in hopes that a better opportunity would come up, while Roma were willing to let him go for just €40m. The 26-year-old would have been an excellent addition to Jurgen Klopp’s back line but instead he remains at Roma.He is only 21 but Jonathan Tah is already an established star defender in the Bundesliga. It has been over four years since he made his debut with Hamburg and he has grown into one of Germany’s most promising players with Bayer Leverkusen. Tall, quick and always alert, he would have been a great alternative to Van Dijk and a good fit for Klopp’s team.Milan Skriniar InterJust 18 months after his arrival in Italy, Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar was taking offers from clubs all over Europe. Skriniar, 22, was pivotal for Sampdoria in 2016-17 and held off on making a move to Inter see what else was available. The Nerazzurri were able to lure him, though, and he has not missed a minute of action since his €18m move. He has already been dubbed Walter Samuel’s successor by the former Argentina star himself.Matthijs de Ligt burst onto the scene with an Ajax side that reached the Europa League final last season and was immediately touted as one of the most promising centre-backs on the continent. He continues to be linked to Barcelona and although Ajax were determined to keep him, the Dutch club are always willing to sell at the right price.Colombia international Davinson Sanchez attracted interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid among others during a sensational debut season at Ajax. It was Tottenham who paid over €40m to snap him up in August and he has walked straight into Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI. At 21, Sanchez will progress even further and the ruthless energetic defender would certainly have been an outstanding acquisition for the Reds.After three seasons in the second tier with Ingolstadt, it took just one season in the Bundesliga for Benjamin Hubner to earn a move to Hoffenheim and immediately became crucial to the second best defence in the league last season. Hubner was part of the back line that leakedKalidou Koulibaly NapoliNapoli were able to hold on to Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer despite strong interest from Europe’s elite clubs. He has since played every minute of competitive football for Maurizio Sarri’s high-flying side and will likely attract more bids in the future. It would have taken a big offer to secure him in the last window, but the 26-year-old’s value could rise even further as he is now regarded as one of the best in his position in Serie A.A brave tackler who goes straight for the ball and is comfortable once he’s on it, Inigo Martinez possesses an urgency that has been absent from Liverpool’s defence. The 26-year-old has been at Real Sociedad for his entire career and is closing in on his 200th La Liga appearance, but the Basque side had to fend off interest from Barcelona. With a €32m release clause in his contract, however, Sociedad can count themselves lucky a team like Liverpool weren’t wise enough to make a move.After spells in Italy, Germany, France and Turkey, the Premier League would have been a good step for Simon Kjaer in the close-season. The Denmark international rejected Liverpool in 2015 to join Fenerbahce, but making a return for him would have been a wise move. The Anfield side may have had an advantage given he was raised in a Liverpool-mad family, but instead he signed for their Champions League opponents Sevilla.An Argentina international before he had even kicked a ball in professional football, big things are expected of Emanuel Mammana. The 21-year-old impressed upon his arrival at Lyon from River Plate, but was restricted to 25 appearances due to injuries. Although he was just one year into a five-year contract, he made a surprise switch to Zenit in the summer and has been a star player at the heart of Roberto Mancini’s back line. Given the Russian side paid a reported €16m, he must go down as a missed opportunity for several teams of Liverpool’s ilk.Omer Toprak Borussia DortmundOmer Toprak remained consistent for Bayer Leverkusen throughout his six-year spell at Bayer Leverkusen, despite occasional injury problems. The BayArena side let their captain go in the previous window and may have been more enthusiastic about Premier League offers than the prospect of him joining Borussia Dortmund. A clause in his contract allowed BVB to secure Toprak, 28, for just €12m.Patience has been a virtue for Brazilian defender Felipe, who waited until the age of 27 to make his first move to Europe. He walked straight into Porto’s first-team upon his arrival from Corinthians in 2016 and completed every game in the Champions League as they reached the second round. With a €50m release clause in his contract, he could have been snapped up early by a brave club and some clubs are reportedly considering doing so soon.Liverpool spent a great deal of time trying to pry midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig and will head to Anfield next summer for a huge fee, but the Reds could have addressed more immediate concerns had they gone after his team-mate Willi Orban. After helping Leipzig gain promotion to the Bundesliga, he took on the captaincy last season and was a reliable presence throughout their stunning runner-up finish. He is still improving at 24, but Liverpool could have picked him up for a reasonable price, but the contract extension he signed this month likely puts him out of reach again.A star for Poland at Euro 2016, Kamil Glik has been on a steady rise in recent years. He was an integral player for Torino for four years before joining Monaco for around €15m a year ago and becoming an instant hit for the Ligue 1 champions. As they waved goodbye to several stars over the summer, the fast and sturdy ball-winning defender could have made use of his high profile to make another move and the interest surrounding him scared Monaco into extending his contract during the transfer period. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more