Only time will tell if Albion’s failure to land a striker in the summer transfer window will prove costly.
There’s been plenty of talk about the subject on fans’ forums, in pubs and on social media since transfer deadline day last Thursday, when the Seagulls were unable to get deals over the line for Deportivo forward Florin Andone and then Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen.
The worry for Albion fans is they’re not going to score enough goals to stay in the Premier League. There’s two ways of looking at it – you’ve got the glass half full supporters who still believe the team can survive and then the doom and gloom merchants who think Brighton are now going to struggle and could go down with a record-low Premier League points total.
It’s a bit of a disservice to Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock to say they’re not going to score goals in the top flight, after their exploits in the Championship last season.
Murray has played 54 times in the Premier League and scored 11 goals. That record may not set the world alight but when you look at the stats closer, with a number of substitute appearances, he averages a goal every 196 minutes in the top flight of English football.
Hemed, meanwhile, has scored 27 times in La Liga, including goals against Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.
Baldock is untested in the Premier League but the supply line Albion have is something to frighten opposition defenders. Anthony Knockaert was back to his best at times against Watford in the last match before the international break, Jose Izquierdo will be a pacy threat on the wing and Solly March is a player who is growing game by game.
Albion are going to create fewer chances than in the Championship and there’s little doubt the strikers are going to have to be more clinical when those opportunities come around.
But the failure to add a striker to the squad certainly wasn’t for the want of trying. A deal was agreed for Raphael Dwamena to join from FC Zurich before the Ghana international failed a medical.
Andone could easily have been a Albion player if things had gone their way and Janssen’s decision to stay at Spurs and be a bit-part player is a little surprising. But would he have been an improvement on what Albion have anyway? A bid of more than £20m was agreed by Tottenham for the Dutch international but he struggled at White Hart Lane last season and scored only six goals in 38 matches.
At the back, there’s little for Albion to worry about. Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy are a solid partnership and Ezequiel Schelotto’s deadline day signing gives Chris Hughton plenty of options in the full-back positions. In goal, Mathew Ryan has made a couple of errors early in his Albion career and Tim Krul will give the Australian international and Niki Maenpaa some real competition for the number one shirt.
Albion have a run of games coming up where they need to get points – to give themselves confidence and to give the doubting fans belief that the club can stay in the Premier League. Hopefully, by the time the next international break comes around, the lack of an additional striker will be at the back of fans’ minds.