Brighton have begun the 2018/19 season strongly as they look to survive another year in the Premier League. Their first win this campaign came in August against United, winning a 3-2 thriller which sent Jose Mourinho’s side on a downward spiral, until the Portuguese was sacked last week. Since then, the southeast club has notched victories regularly enough to keep their necks above water. Heading into this season, manager Chris Hughton insisted that survival was once again the aim after finishing 15th last term with 40 points. The Seagulls boss went some way to ensuring that in the summer, bringing in £64million worth of talent. Among those players were club-record signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Lille midfielder Yves Bissouma, Romania international Florin Andone and full-backs Bernardo and Martin Montoya. The latter two have made a superb impact down the flanks in recent months, but the majoirty of the 13 summer signings have struggled for game time under Hughton. The 60-year-old tactician is known for his calm, tentative approach, which has seen half of the newbies gradually drip-fed into the starting XI.What do Brighton need in January? Despite signing the dynamic midfielder Bissouma in July, the Mali international has struggled for regular starts in a midfield which is screaming out for more energy. Although Davy Propper and Dale Stephens have been entrusted with anchoring the centre of the pitch over the last two seasons, neither has the vision to create from deep, so a more deep-lying playmaker would be welcome in Falmer. Anthony Knockaert has not been able to translate his Championship prowess into the Premier League and, while Jose Izquierdo and Solly March provide a high work-rate on the flanks, both have a tendency to fall short, like Knockaert, in delivering final-third quality. A winger with set-piece pedigree who can cross with either foot would offer Brighton something different from the direct but, at times, predictable wingers they currently bestow.Who do Brighton need to get rid of? With Hughton wielding such a settled, tight-knit squad in a safe league position, there is no need to overhaul the roster. There is reported interest for the side’s creative spark, Pascal Gross, with Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham linked to the German playmaker. The club will be desperate to retain his services, though, and the player penned a contract extension until 2022 in June. On the rumours regarding his future, Gross said: “I don’t read the newspapers but then maybe some friends or here [in Brighton] someone sees it and makes a joke. I have got nothing to say about it. I am really happy to play in the Premier League with Brighton.” Brighton are saturated for options in attack, however, with Jurgen Locadia seemingly surplus to requirements. The Dutchman joined as a record-signing last January but has started just five league games, and told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf last month he “has never had the chance” to prove his worth. Locadia had a Liverpool News – LFC Daily news
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