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Newly-promoted Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion are set to battle it out with Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth for the signature of Toulouse forward and captain Martin Braithwaite, according to the Mirror.
The 26-year old striker has been with the French outfit for four years now and had a decent 2016/17 season, scoring 12 goals and assisting 3 more from 36 games in all competitions and is valued at £12million by the club.
Chris Hughton’s Brighton have been active in the market as they strengthen their ranks to put up a strong debut campaign in the Premier League, while the Cherries have also gone about improving their ranks ahead of the next season. With both the Premier League clubs monitoring Braithwaite, let’s take a look at what would he be able to add to the teams.
Born in Esbjerg, Denmark, on 5 June 1991, Braithwaite started off his youth career in football with the local club Esbjerg fB, before spending a short time with the academy of FC Midtjylland. However, he returned Esbjerg in 2007 and signed a three-year professional contract with the club.
After having had trials with the likes of Rennes and Newcastle United, Braithwate made his senior debut for Esbjerg in 2009 and went on to make 10 appearances, but did not score a goal. The subsequent season as well, he failed to open his goal-scoring account from 18 games. He had to wait till October 2011 for his first goal for Esbjerg, which came against Hobro IK in the Danish second division. Braithwaite finished the 2011/12 season with 5 goals and 4 assists from 27 games.
The 12/13 season could be regarded as his true breakthrough campaign, scoring 11 times and registering 4 assists in 38 games, helping the club to the Danish Cup triumph. His impressive season earned him a move to Toulouse in August 2013.
Braithwaite had an impressive debut campaign in France, scoring 11 strikes and setting up 9 more and went on to cement his place as a regular in the team. He did not enjoy the best of the season next year, but was back to his best in 2015/16, when he managed 14 strikes – which remains his best returns in terms of goal till date. This past season, he found the back of the net on 12 occasions. Brathwaite has taken the field on 149 occasions for Toulouse and has netted 40 goals.
Having broken into the Denmark U-17 setup back in 2008, he represented the Danish international team at all youth levels, before making his debut for the senior side in June 2013. Since then, he has appeared 16 times for Denmark and scored one goal.
Primarily a centre-forward by trade, Braithwaite can also play out on the flanks as well and has even played in a central midfield role during his early days with Esbjerg fB.
A fine dribbler of the ball, the 26-year old possesses good feet and has a penchant for drifting out wide and then cutting in from there to cause problems to the defenders. The Danish international also has the pace to match it with, which makes him an exciting prospect up front.
However, his lack of contribution when not in possession and defensive work-rate are a bit of a letdown, while Braithwaite also isn’t the strongest in the air, despite standing at 6ft tall.
Braithwaite still has two years left on his contract, but it is believed that Toulouse will sell him for the right price.
Bournemouth do have better options at the top in the likes of Jermain Defoe, Joshua King and Benik Afobe. So it might turn out to be a difficult proposition for the Toulouse forward to get regular playing time there.
On the other hand, Brighton might turn out to be an attractive prospect for Braithwaite, with more regular playing time likely with Chris Hughton’s side. The Seagulls too could add more firepower to their attack to support last season’s top-scorer Glenn Murray.