From the AMEX – A footballer’s career can be short. The egregious money in modern day football aside, you can understand why some players agitate for moves at a seemingly inopportune moment.
Brighton aren’t the first club in the game to be dealt an upset star set on doing anything to get their way. We’ve all played Football Manager and promised game time to fringe players, fully well knowing they have no place in your FM vision. It’s a tale as old as time.
The south coast side have been flying this season. Ninth place in 2021/22 saw Chelsea come calling for Graham Potter, and after some initial turbulence under incoming boss Roberto De Zerbi they are charming viewers left and right with stylish, high-tempo football, led by up and coming stars like Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo.
Leandro Trossard have previously been included in the same breath. But at 28, time is ticking for the Belgian, who recently a clause triggered in his Brighton contract to keep him at the AMEX until 2024.
However, allegations of mismanagement have been brought forward by the player’s agent, Josy Comhair, after De Zerbi revealed Trossard had stormed off from training before the FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.
“On Monday [after the game] I spoke to him and I explained I don’t like this attitude and behaviour. He knows very well if he wants to play for Brighton he has to work very hard, run, and be in the right way,” De Zerbi said. “We are not a big team like Barcelona or Real Madrid. We are Brighton and we need others who work like the others.”
That was met later on Friday by a retort from Comhair, who claimed Trossard had indicated his desire for ‘his next step’ and revealed a bust-up with an unnamed teammate took place.
Part of the statement reads: “The manager told Leandro that he had to train separately. Last Monday, the manager humiliated Leandro in group and indicated that he no longer wanted to see him. A manager who has not communicated directly with his player for four weeks is really incomprehensible. Incidentally, it is also the manager who has indicated several times that a transfer is the most convenient solution.
“It is therefore important that Brighton cooperates with a potential transfer during this transfer period and shows a benevolent attitude, which is beneficial to both parties.”
There are clubs interested in making a move this month. 90min understands Tottenham want to be kept informed of the situation, while Newcastle are also in the mix.
However, the timing of Trossard’s gambit is truly unfortunate. One wonders what he made of Brighton’s 3-0 smashing of Liverpool.
While admittedly not Barcelona or Real Madrid, Brighton had put together a wonderful run prior to the Reds’ visit on Saturday, rising up to eighth with the opportunity to go seventh. Progression in the FA Cup had also been secured with the thumping of Boro. For a club that was playing at an athletics ground with retractable stands as recently as 2011, they are flying.
A double from Solly March alongside Danny Welbeck’s late strike gave them victory, leaping up to seventh and usurping their opponent in the process.
Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey, Toby Cudworth and Tom Gott in the latest episode of Talking Transfers. This week they discuss Chelsea’s hectic transfer strategy, which includes a loan move for Joao Felix and interest in Romeo Lavia and Marcus Thuram among others, Man Utd’s pursuit of Burnley striker Wout Weghorst, Leandro Trossard’s Brighton future and more. Available on all audio platforms.
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Trossard had been a major part of the progress made in recent years, but Brighton’s latest energetic performance shows there is more than enough to be excited about going forward. They’re in a commanding position with both Mac Allister and Caicedo should any clubs come calling, while Kaoru Mitoma has shown his clinical edge since returning from the World Cup – the way the Japan international chewed up Trent Alexander-Arnold was spectacular.
They are all players who have bought into Brighton’s process to help deliver results greater than the sum of the team’s parts. With so many understated ball-players, the Seagulls give every top club a tough time whenever they’re greeted at the seaside.
Brighton may not receive a lucrative transfer fee for Trossard, but they’re not under pressure to come up with a replacement this month. Their start and pressure against Liverpool in the opening 15 minutes had the visitors booting long balls forward at every opportunity as March and Mitoma gave their esteemed full-back opposition tough times out wide.
There will be pressure, however, on Trossard if and when he gets his big move.
Having made such a high-stakes call in pushing for a move, the former Genk attacker has to cut it at the next level or risk fading into obscurity. Better players have left the AMEX in recent years and struggled to perform at similar levels. The grass isn’t always greener, as most recent star departee Yves Bissouma would reluctantly tell you.
The journey Brighton have been on over the past 20 years shows they’re not afraid of a little adversity. The demands of Trossard and an agent should do little to detract from a Seagulls side full of vibrancy and initiative as they target improving that current best of ninth in the Premier League.