• 'Underwhelming' Albion Summer signings

    The murmurings of discontent continued over the weekend before, during and after the arrival of Danny Holla with the general sentiment of the naysayers being "He was signed on a free, no one else wanted him so he must be rubbish."

    As detailed in our interview with someone who watches a lot of Eredivisie football, that is anything but the case and surprise has been expressed in Holland that he is not playing top-flight football.

    This trial by Wikipedia typifies a number of modern football fans who can, within a few minutes, locate statistics and form an opinion on a player they have never seen play and possibly never even heard of prior to the @OfficialBHAFC tweet announcing a new arrival.

    With that in mind, here is the run-down on Albion's supposedly 'underwhelming' deals to date this Summer.

    Toko Nzuzi was the first new player to join the Albion this Summer, way back in May. Arriving at the club from Grasshopper Zurich, Toko has played in the Champions League and, had he remained in Switzerland, he was due to do so once again this season.

    With Matthew Upson turning down another year at the Albion in favour of a final crack at the Premier League, the club required a high-quality replacement to both accompany captain Gordon Greer and help with the continued development of Lewis Dunk. Aaron Hughes joined the club with a wealth of Premier League experience gained with the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham. Most recently he played a pivotal part in QPR's successful promotion season. He kept himself in shape during the Summer at the heart of Northern Ireland's defence in friendlies against World Cup bound Uruguay and Chile. Oh, and he's younger than Matthew Upson too.

    Chris O'Grady arrived from Barnsley where he scored 15 league goals in his single season at the club and was voted Player of the Year. Aside from a dazzling display at the Amex, Barnsley were a struggling side last term, yet Chris O’Grady still scored more league goals than the Albion’s Leo Ulloa from a similar number of games played. Ulloa was in a promotion chasing team and benefited from the supply of players such as Kazenga LuaLua, Will Buckley and Jesse Lingard. No one is suggesting that O’Grady has what it takes to fill Ulloa’s boots, and the Albion are still looking for further attacking options, but to dismiss O’Grady solely on the basis of having joined from Barnsley is wrong.

    David Stockdale was next in. Joining from Fulham, he played 26 times for the Premier League club last season and was recognised as one of the high points in an otherwise disappointing season for the London club. In the previous season he was on loan at Hull City and was first choice as Hull secured automatic promotion to the Premier League. Fulham fans were gutted to see him leave with one asking: Could Fulham boss Felix Magath be making a huge mistake selling David Stockdale to Brighton? He went on to add: “His heart last year gave supporters hope during the darkest moments and his passion rallied the players to go out and achieve something in those odd few positive performances.”

    Before the arrival of Danny Holla, Joao Teixeira arrived at the Amex on a season-long loan from Liverpool. A glance at Wikipedia will tell the tale of a young player who has been unable to break through at Anfield and could not even secure a start at League One Brentford before being recalled. Delving deeper reveals a different story however with favourable comparisons having been made with fellow countryman Deco and both club staff and Liverpool fans holding Teixeira in high regard. Steven Gerard, who has played with and against a few decent footballers in his time, has spoken about the talents he possesses. Coming off the bench at St Andrews on Saturday, he was a rare bright spot in an otherwise poor day for the Albion.

    So, in summary, Albion’s ‘underwhelming’ Summer signings comprise a Champions League midfielder, a current international and experienced Premier League centre-back, a proven Championship goalscorer, a Premier League quality ‘keeper, a Liverpool starlet and a midfielder with ample Dutch top-flight experience.

    Not even the most optimistic of Albion fans would suggest the current squad is yet ready for another tilt at promotion. There is still a lot of work to be done for Tony Bloom and David Burke before the transfer window shuts, but to dismiss the signings made to date so readily is surely a mistake.
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. rauper's Avatar
      rauper -
      Spot on. It has been embarrassing to be associated with some of the recent outbursts from fellow seagulls "supporters" on social media/NSC.
    1. Dick Knights Mumm's Avatar
      Dick Knights Mumm -
      Good points, however ...........................

      ................ not quite the same (Ulloa was no Suarez, and Buckley no Bale) but it did remind me of a line reported by Daniel Taylor in the Guardian:

      Teams rarely improve after they have moved on their outstanding player, no matter how much money it frees up, and in Suárez's case that was a nice line doing the rounds recently about it being the equivalent of selling an iPhone then splashing out on a pager, a phone, a fax machine, a camera and a pen.
    1. Rugrat's Avatar
      Rugrat -
      Nice article, in the proper context too.
    1. Rich Suvner's Avatar
      Rich Suvner -
      The actual deals we've done in AND out all seem to make sense to me.
      The timing (this isn't the first time we've started a season with very significant activity to only be conducted on final day) and considerable lack of depth is the bigger issue.
    1. Trust in Tony's Avatar
      Trust in Tony -
      I think once the FULL squad is in place and Sami gets to work with his players and system we will see a stronger Albion than the one that lost 4-1 to Derby in the play off semi.
    1. Papa Lazarou's Avatar
      Papa Lazarou -
      Excellent article @Bozza
    1. TSB's Avatar
      TSB -
      Exactly what I wrote earlier, but in a far more eloquent way and remembering Teixeira had actually signed for us. Bravo.
    1. AZ Gull's Avatar
      AZ Gull -
      @Bozza - good article, but surely the second paragraph under Nzuzi Toko should be the second paragraph under Aaron Hughes, shouldn't it?
    1. Simster's Avatar
      Simster -
      We will get a better either of whether or not these are good signings by the end of September I think - they need a chance to gel.

      Holla and Stockdale look like good signings, and the loanee from Liverpool has the potential to flourish here. What we are really missing is some pace on the flanks and a marquee goal scorer. I'm beginning to wonder whether CMS might be better employed out wide at this level.
    1. Frutos's Avatar
      Frutos -
      Very sensible article in my view.

      I believe that, assuming no further exits, with a left-back and another striker added to the collection, as well as a creative Vicente/Orlandi-esque midfielder, we'd be fairly well set.
    1. chucky1973's Avatar
      chucky1973 -
      Well done Bozza. I am actually more relaxed now than previous. A goal tonight would be nice though.
    1. middletoenail's Avatar
      middletoenail -
      Quote Originally Posted by Frutos View Post
      Very sensible article in my view.

      I believe that, assuming no further exits, with a left-back and another striker added to the collection, as well as a creative Vicente/Orlandi-esque midfielder, we'd be fairly well set.
      Please don't mention vicente, I still haven't got over him leaving!
    1. Hamilton's Avatar
      Hamilton -
      Thank you for writing this. It will perhaps act as a counter to those that keep stating that a dozen or so ex-Albion personnel are now playing their trade in the top flight. We have to remember who we are, what we've been through in recent years and how we are still building. We have no multi-million parachute payments and no sugar daddy to bust the bank, so development will all have to come through careful planning and purchasing.
    1. fat old seagull's Avatar
      fat old seagull -
      I'm still persevering with the TB promise of happiness by September. I'm not ecstatic about Holla, I guess I'm praying we'll sign someone who has a nose for goal. As for Holla, time will tell, we have quite a few midfielders with Crofty about to return Stephens and Toko on the mend and now Teixeira's arrival, along with others in situ.
      We apparently need to keep a check on our spending (FFP) and ever conscious of the money (hundreds of thousands) previously wasted 'manning the bench' I'm mystified we couldn't trump up a few grand to secure Ward when he was keen to come here. Maybe that's unfair to Holla, and if he fits the bill and holds his place I won't only admit I got it wrong. I'll be more than pleased to. At least things are moving so I haven't taken my Rosy Specs of yet.
    1. perseus's Avatar
      perseus -
      Left back absence is interesting = worrying. The left side fell apart against Derby last season. Very short of left footers in the first team.

      But I thought it that Stephen Ward probably would have not stopped Cotterill on the wing in the Birmingham match.

      Holla might be a jimmy Case or Brian Horton type. He seems like a good signing. Rated at ADO. I can only assume that they now have someone better.
    1. withdeanwombat's Avatar
      withdeanwombat -
      It will be interesting to see how the team develops in the coming months, and I think we'll have enough to do quite well.

      But it IS disappointing that we are all joint top league scorers after two games.
    1. Dick Head's Avatar
      Dick Head -
      Quote Originally Posted by fat old seagull View Post
      I'm still persevering with the TB promise of happiness by September. I'm not ecstatic about Holla, I guess I'm praying we'll sign someone who has a nose for goal. As for Holla, time will tell, we have quite a few midfielders with Crofty about to return Stephens and Toko on the mend and now Teixeira's arrival, along with others in situ.
      We apparently need to keep a check on our spending (FFP) and ever conscious of the money (hundreds of thousands) previously wasted 'manning the bench' I'm mystified we couldn't trump up a few grand to secure Ward when he was keen to come here. Maybe that's unfair to Holla, and if he fits the bill and holds his place I won't only admit I got it wrong. I'll be more than pleased to. At least things are moving so I haven't taken my Rosy Specs of yet.
      How about happiness by Christmas?
    1. fat old seagull's Avatar
      fat old seagull -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dick Head View Post
      How about happiness by Christmas?
      If you're not happy being a supporter at the Amex you clearly can't remember the nightmare of Priestfield or Withdean.
      For me I don't give a s*** if we don't get promoted, I could even live with being relegated. I was happy from the first time I set foot in Amex and I'm grateful.... Start thinking about what we have, NOT what we don't.
    1. Dick Head's Avatar
      Dick Head -
      Quote Originally Posted by fat old seagull View Post
      If you're not happy being a supporter at the Amex you clearly can't remember the nightmare of Priestfield or Withdean.
      For me I don't give a s*** if we don't get promoted, I could even live with being relegated. I was happy from the first time I set foot in Amex and I'm grateful.... Start thinking about what we have, NOT what we don't.
      I quite agree, and I'm still optimistic.
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