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Despite interest from Championship rivals Sunderland and Middlesbrough, it seems Premier League new boys Brighton and Hove Albion are leading the way in the chase for Sporting Lisbon right-back Ezequiel Schelotto.
Qualified for Italy but born in Argentina, Schelotto started his career with Cesena down in Serie C but moved up the Italian ranks with that side before moving to Atalanta in 2011. He went on to make 152 appearances in Serie A for Cesena, Atalanta, Inter Milan, Sassuolo, Chievo and Parma before eventually leaving the country in 2015 and heading to Portugal.
Schelotto appeared three times in the Champions League last season for the Portuguese giants and would bring huge experience to the Amex, though given his history it is unclear how he would handle the pace of Premier League football in England.
Schelotto is 28 years old now and pretty much at his peak as a defender, though the increasing need in England for full-backs to provide a good attacking outlet is not something he would guarantee.
He hasn’t scored a league goal now since 2014 and has a total of 8 to his name in 7 top flight seasons, which does not bode too well. The likes of Kyle Walker have helped in reinventing what the full-back role is these days, something that was shaped worldwide by the likes of Cafu and especially Dani Alves.
Clubs are increasingly looking for their full-backs to supply assists and even goals and while this is not something I would necessarily expect from Schelotto, his arrival would still be thought of as positive for Chris Hughton.
Managers are increasingly aware that even on a tight budget, you cannot afford to come to the Premier League anymore and leave a single position with only one likely first teamer to fill it.
New signing Ales Mateju is just 21 years of age and is not ready to rock the Premier League just yet, while at the other end of the scale the admirable Bruno is now 36 and cannot handle 38 tough and competitive Premier League games.
So, while Brighton have the numbers in this position, they don’t have the quality right now and it’s pleasing to see this being recognised by Chris Hughton, who deserves a good season as manager in the top division in England. Let’s hope Schelotto helps him achieve it.