Player Statue In Front of Bright & Hove FlagCredit: kovop (big stock)

At a time when several clubs are under severe pressure regarding the losses they are making, with two and counting being docked points for breaches of Profit and Sustainability rules, Brighton are very much going against the grain. On the 2nd of April 2024 they announced financial results which would have been taken for a joke had they been revealed a day earlier, showing a profit of almost £123m for the financial year 2022/23.

That such stellar financial results came alongside them finishing sixth in the Premier League and also making the semis of the FA Cup is truly testament to their brilliant ownership. In particular, their scouting, player recruitment and player development have been especially exceptional.

In this article we take a look at some of Brighton’s best work in the transfer market. Whilst they have no doubt done some fine business in years gone by, nothing has been at the high level of their transfer activity in the Premier League era, so that will be our sole focus here.

Marc Cucurella – Bought for £15m, Sold for £62m

Marc CucurellaSpanish left-back Marc Cucurella has proved a magnificent bit of business for the Seagulls. They signed the former Barcelona youth player for just over £15m from Getafe in August 2021. The attacking full-back had played for Spain at a range of youth levels but didn’t quite make it at Barca and moved to Getafe.

Brighton triggered his release clause from Getafe and after just a season on the south coast they sold him for a huge profit. Man City were also interested in Cucurella but Chelsea outbid them, reportedly playing £55m to sign him on a six-year deal that could go as high as £62m with add-ons.

Cucurella struggled to settle down with the Blues but he is not 26 until July 2024 and could yet prove to be a decent signing for the club. However, even if he returns to his Brighton best and fully delivers on his potential, there is no doubt this was a stupendous bit of business by Brighton owner Tony Bloom and his back-room team.

Moises Caicedo – Bought for £5m, Sold for £115m

Moises CaicedoTo some it might seem like Chelsea are seeking to exist primarily to fund Brighton, with the deal for Moises Caicedo even more lucrative for the Seagulls. The Ecuadorian was bought by Brighton for a fee believed to be around the £5m mark early in 2021. In the summer he was loaned to Beerschot in Belgium but was brought back to England at the start of 2022.

He very quickly established himself as one of the top defensive midfielders in the country and during the January transfer window of 2023 he was linked with several huge English sides. With Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all interested, Brighton knew that a bumper fee was assured.

They held onto him until the summer though and it appeared he would be moving to Liverpool, with a fee of £111m agreed. However, Chelsea were prepared to go a shade higher, and their £115m bid (including add-ons) saw Caicedo move to the Blues on a mammoth eight-year contract.

With the Seagulls making over £100m on Caicedo, despite him only playing 53 times for the club, this was a stunning example of how to operate in the transfer market. Like Cucurella, the midfielder has struggled to produce his best football at Stamford Bridge but there are mitigating factors and we suspect he will prove himself in the years ahead. Once again though, no matter how good he turns out, Brighton have done incredibly well through their short association with him.

Julio Enciso – Bought for £10m

Julio EncisoBrighton have several players who have been touted as their next £100m sale but we feel Paraguayan Enciso remains the man most likely. The exciting attacker is already worth at least four times that much and is not yet 21. Four goals and two assists in the 2022/23 campaign was an excellent return for such a young player, new to England, and that included a screamer against Man City that won Goal of the Season too.

He began 2023/24 well, with a couple of assists against Wolves, but sadly suffered an injury shortly after. That kept him out for several months but he returned to the team in February 2024. We expect him to really stablish himself as Brighton’s next big star in 2024/25 – unless someone snaps him up in the summer!

Other Key Deals

Brighton have done so spectacularly well in the transfer market over the past five years or so that picking out just a handful of players is almost impossible. Their business has been so impressive that somehow selling Alexis Mac Allister for a profit of “just” £28m (although that will probably rise to a more impressive £48m once add-ons are triggered) almost seemed like a bad deal!

In addition to the purchase and sale of World Cup-winner MacAllister, Brighton have also made handsome profits on goalie Robert Sanchez, sold to Chelsea (of course!) for around £25m including add-ons. Not bad for a youth product! Buying Pervis Estupinan for around £15m may also soon look a steal, whilst the club made yet more profit on Yves Bissouma (sold to Spurs for around £26m) and Leandro Trossard, who was signed by Arsenal for up to £27m.

Going back to their 2021/22 transfer dealings, Kaoru Mitoma was surely a sensational purchase at around £2.5m, with the Japanese winger now interesting several top sides. Liverpool have been linked with a bid of more than £50m. That season they also sold Ben White to Arsenal for £50m – not a bad result for a player they acquired for free when he was released by neighbours Southampton!

The club are showing that it is possible for smaller teams to compete if they are able to outsmart their bigger, richer rivals in the transfer market. In addition to the profit the Seagulls have made on players, they have also received very decent compensation for their coaching and management team. Chelsea, who else, paid Brighton a crazy £21.5m to obtain the services of manager Graham Potter … who lasted all of 31 games at the Bridge! It is safe to say that Chelsea could learn a thing or two from Bloom and co!


By cf378