If there’s one thing that Brighton Hove & Albion have become renowned for since ending a 35-year absence from the top-flight in 2017, it’s their ability to pinpoint hidden gems worldwide and develop them into technically efficient, productive, and eye-catching forces. It is a tactic that has generated wonderful free-flowing football and inexplicable profit.
Others have attempted to replicate Brighton’s diligent mastery of building from scratch. When Todd Boehly assumed Roman Abramovich’s cut-throat post at Chelsea, he instigated one of the most contentious managerial changes in the Premier League era: dismissing Champions League-winning Thomas Tuchel for Brighton’s Graham Potter. The Englishman was replaced by Roberto De Zerbi, who guided the Seagulls to sixth place and a first crack at European football in the club’s history. It’s not going badly either. Brighton recently finished top of their group with summer signing Joao Pedro netting six goals.
Brighton Hove & Albion have qualified for European football for the first time in club history and will be competing in next season’s UEFA Europa League.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the heroes behind the Seagulls’ historic campaign: pic.twitter.com/c3LLWXyTVh
— Breaking The Lines (@BTLvid) May 24, 2023
The Brazilian arrived at the Amex Stadium for a club-record fee of £30m. Given De Zerbi’s boisterous personality and brazen confidence, one would assume that he calls the shots on the South Coast. But Pedro’s signing is placed against a different landscape. After Brighton’s 4-2 victory over Stoke City in the FA Cup, the Italian coach revealed that he was unaware of the forward until he joined the club. “The credit for Joao Pedro is the club”, he admitted. “The recruitment told me his name. I didn’t know him before he came.”
These comments came after Pedro produced another glittering performance at the weekend, scoring twice whilst decorating proceedings with an unerring degree of poise. The bet365 Stadium is not often subjected to such levels. Strikingly skillful and physically imposing, he is ruthlessly efficient and can appear across the frontline.
Throughout the season, Brighton’s squad has been gripped by various injuries. Kauro Mitoma, Julio Enciso, Solly March, Ansu Fati, and Simon Adingra have endured fitness issues. De Zerbi has grappled with the unrelenting reality of juggling domestic and European football, but Pedro has been one of his most trusted lieutenants. “I love Joao Pedro and I know his potential,” said the 44-year-old.
The former Watford livewire ranks within the best 13% in Europe’s five leagues among his positional peers for shot-creating actions, progressive passes, progressive carries, and successful take-ons per 90. He has registered 17 goal contributions in 28 games this season and is relishing his importance and emphatically repaying the club’s trust. Pedro embodies yet another resounding victory in the transfer market for the juggernaut of bargain hunting and talent development.
By: Alex Connor / @alexjconnor
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Charlotte Wilson – Offside