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Newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion are quietly going about improving their squad in order to compete in what is their first top-flight season in over 30 years.
Rather than going after new players for the sake of it, manager Chris Hughton is carefully plugging the gaps in his squad and one of those may be filled by Chelsea youngster Isaiah Brown.
Both Huddersfield Town (where Brown spent time on loan last season) and Southampton were prepared to pay £8million to land the England under-20 international on a permanent basis but it seems the player himself has chosen to join Brighton instead on a season-long loan deal.
Brown is so highly thought of at Stamford Bridge that they are not willing to cash in on his ability and achievements so far, and instead, are thought to be ready to offer him a new contract. It’s unlikely though that he could force his way into Antonio Conte’s first XI yet and so another loan deal looks appropriate, this time at Premier League level.
Brown joined the West London side in 2013 at the age of just 16 having made 4 Premier League appearances for the Baggies and, although he did play 11 times for the Blues at the top level, he has been loaned out three times already.
Spells in the Championship with Rotherham and Huddersfield followed a successful year in the Netherlands with Vitesse, where Brown played 22 times in the Eredivisie, scoring a single goal. Chelsea are keen to reward Brown’s hard work and progression with a new deal and will assess how well he copes with Premier League football if he heads to the Amex.
Last season’s champions have already secured similar PL deals for Tammy Abraham at Swansea and Kasey Palmer at Huddersfield, with Brown looking like following in their footsteps before the end of this week.
Belgian Anthony Knockaert has the right-wing position locked down at Brighton but the central attacking midfield and the left-wing positions are up for grabs – both areas Brown is particularly strong in. Skalak, Manu and Lua-Lua don’t really look up to the job in truth and Brown could be a very important signing if Brighton are to not leave themselves short of quality before the big kick-off.
At Championship level, Brown averaged around 1.3 key passes per game and if he can do a similar job in the top division, he could prove invaluable to Seagulls’ survival fight.