Brighton and Hove Albion’s recruitment system
Brighton is starting to come to the forefront in terms of team success and winning games, however there is a bigger scope and picture to the results we are seeing in the present day. Brighton have tried and are succeeding in making big impressions on player recruitment specialists, managers, agents and those in directorial roles within the world of football operations.
Recruitment of players
The recruitment at Brighton starts from the very top with the owner Tony Bloom, he has his own software called starlizard which indicates players who go unrecognised in various parts of the globe and in certain positions. This software is not commonly used around the club in an effort to keep the project on the down low, in fear of Brighton’s secrets being leaked to competition.
The software being used provides the men and women on the ground in this organisation (known as scouts) the names of several players to watch and analyse. Criteria for the assessment of these players include age, position, and minutes played. It is all well and good having software that provides such information, however Brighton have excelled over the past few seasons in finding ideal fits for the club. These players are able to adapt to the demands of the English Premier League. Data can provide facts and figures, but there still exists the question of whether a player can join the team and hit the ground running? Can they adapt to different positions when needed? Do they suit the character and values that the club expect and demand?
With Brighton operating in one of, if not the best leagues in the world, it is significantly easier for the club to recruit and attract potential targets in the region within which they operate. Pre-promotion in 2017, the club and recruitment department may have not had the resources to operate globally and efficiently.
Standouts from the great recruitment regime of Brighton Football Club include; Moises Caicedo from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle for £4.5m in 2021, and Alexis Mac Allister who was signed from Argentine Primera División club Argentinos Juniors in 2019 for a fee of £7m. The names mentioned above have great potential to be signed by the ‘top 6’ clubs or the elites in this summer’s transfer window for large amounts of money. A great business transaction for the club has been the sale of Marc Cucurella who was signed from La Liga side Getafe for £15.4m after Brighton triggered the release clause. The Spaniard was only at the south coast side for one season, when Chelsea handpicked him and decided to pay a guaranteed £55m for the left-back and up to another £7m in add-ons.
As is the nature of a highly competitive transfer market, the good comes with the bad. There have been sevral signings which haven’t gone so well, the likes of Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven in January 2018 and fellow Eredivisie transfer and Iranian winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh, from AZ Alkmaar in July 2018. The players together totalling a transfer fee of £30 million.
Recruitment for positions off the field
After Brighton finished in their highest ever league position of 9th in last year’s premier league campaign, Graham Potter was a well sort after man. With Potter being secured by Todd Bohely, the owner Tony Bloom and chief executive Paul Barber knew just the man to take over. That man was Roberto De Zerbi. The Italian impressed during interview with his knowledge of the speed of players in certain positions, the ages of the squad, what foot they preferred to play with and exactly how his style would suit the Premier League.
Strategies for the assessment and transfer of on-field assets has been previously mentioned, yet Brighton also think a few steps ahead when it comes to off-field replacements; with Dan Ashworth being headhunted by northern giants Newcastle.
David Weir was the successor for Dan Ashworth on an interim basis before getting the role permanently. David Weir has been associated with the roles of a loans manager, recruitment, women’s academy, medical and sports science departments, however pathway development was his main area of expertise.
As Todd Boehly continued to hand pick his new staff, he again travelled to the south coast club of Brighton. This is a real compliment to everyone associated with the team located in the south, however I am sure the senior figures are starting to get a bit sick of seeing the American’s number pop up on their phones. Then head of recruitment Paul Winstanley has been given the chance to work for the London based club as co-sporting director, head of global talent and transfers.
Brighton’s recruitment has been operated at a very high level, with Europa League or the conference confirmed for next year, the club need to ensure they continue their form in both the Premier League and Europe next season. Whilst they want to work on a model that is sustainable and in the green, they need to ensure they continue to recruit players suited for the top level. Players come and go, but it’s about who comes through the door; hopefully that bubble will not bust as in the case of other clubs who adopt a similar model of recruitment.
As for RDZ there have already been big clubs around Europe linked with the tactician, it seems to be a matter of time before Brighton begin to eye up his replacement - it’s high likely they may already be doing so.