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Brighton early favourites for relegation – would summer spending swing the odds in their favour?

The Boot Room

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Bookmakers have released odds for the 2017-18 Premier League season and new boys Brighton and Hove Albion have been made favourites to be relegated. Two of the teams that were promoted for this season, Hull and Middlesbrough, have been sent straight back down to the Championship, so what lessons can Chris Hughton’s men learn from the way those clubs approached life in the Premiership to ensure a similar fate does not befall them?

In short, a lack of ambition in the transfer market cost Boro and Hull. Getting the chequebook out is a huge risk for recently promoted clubs, because if you spend big and still go down you will be in a hazardous financial position, with an unmanageable wage bill and the need to sell most of your best players. This makes it more difficult to be promoted again. A less risky way of approaching it is to spend moderately, safe in the knowledge that if you are relegated you will be financially secure and one of the best teams in the Championship.

This method has worked for Burnley, who have stayed up this season, and various other clubs, from West Bromwich Albion to Norwich. Hull are a perfect example of a yo-yo club. But if you spend big and spend wisely upon being promoted, you can establish yourself as a top flight outfit and not worry too much about relegation. Crystal Palace are a good example of this, splashing the cash on the likes of Cristian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye and consolidating their place in the Premiership. They have flirted with relegation for a while this season, but ultimately finished well clear of Boro and Hull after significantly outspending them.

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Goals keep you up, and someone like Benteke is so valuable for clubs in the bottom half of the Premiership. He kept Aston Villa in the top flight for years, and has done the same at Palace. A scrappy forward that is strong and good in the air, with a good eye for goal. Brighton have Glenn Murray, who has proven he can score in the Premiership, but they need more firepower. They could do a lot worse than breaking the bank to sign Jermain Defoe from relegated Sunderland. Despite playing for the bottom club, he finished near the top of the goal scorer charts this season. Loan signings from the elite clubs and raiding the Championship, for someone like Chris Wood, could pay dividends.

It was a lack of goals that sent Boro down, and Brighton could follow suit if they do not invest properly. A Pinnacle Sports odds review shows they are ahead of Burnley and Watford as favourites to go down, and the squad definitely needs investment. It was good enough to finish second in the Championship, but needs more quality to survive in the top flight. It also needs to be broadened. Hull’s downfall was not having a big enough squad: they could barely even scratch together a subs bench at times this season and struggled whenever first team players were injured. If they learn from these mistakes and blend the core crop with some experienced Premier League talent, they could well establish themselves as a force in the top flight for years to come.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Connor Goldson desperate for trophies at Rangers in near future

The new Rangers man is keen to bring the glory days back to Ibrox.

Jamie Watts

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Fans were jubilant last week after securing the signing of impressive defender Connor Goldson from Brighton & Hove Albion last week, and the 25-year-old is bringing the mentality required to bring “revolution” to Ibrox in the near future.

Goldson has revealed his desire to win trophies with the Scottish giants, in quotes via the official club website, and sees the new manager Steven Gerrard as a major turning point in the club’s fortunes.

The Gers have failed to win silverware since their return to the Scottish top-flight in 2016, and have chopped and changed managers regularly, with Gerrard now the third manager to take the reins following Mark Warburton’s dismissal in March of last year.

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But Goldson is undeterred by previous seasons and believes the club will re-establish themselves as contenders on all fronts in Scotland next term.

“It is more team targets that interest me. I want to win things and I have always been in teams that have won things,” the Englishman revealed.

“That is a reason for coming here. I’ve said to the manager – I don’t want to come here and just play good football and not win things. I want to come here and win trophies, and I think that’s what the fans are craving. They’re craving success and we need to build a team is able to give them that.”

The Wolverhampton-born defender claims the arrival of Gerrard was a major factor in his decision to join Rangers, and believes he will instil a winning mentality at Ibrox that players will buy into, while revealing he is also keen to become a leader on that front.

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“He [Gerrard] wants to bring a winning mentality to the football club, and I am all for that. I have been lucky to have been in winning teams, being promoted a couple of times, and that is what I want to do here.”

Gerrard is coming into an extremely demanding job and will need to have the courage to well and truly shake things up at the club, because bitter rivals Celtic are showing no signs of faltering in recent times – having won the unprecedented ‘double-treble’ this term.

The Hoops have dominated everyone in the Scottish Premiership since Gerrard’s former boss Brendan Rodgers took over at Parkhead two-years back, and if Rangers can secure silverware in their first season under new management it would indicate a very successful year, and the club could build on it in the near future.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

After explosive U-23 form can Viktor Gyokeres have a breakout Brighton season?

Brighton signed the Swede in January and he has looked worth the investment.

Mathew Nash

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It was a deal that probably slipped by many a Brighton and Hove Albion fan, but in September last year, the Seagulls agreed on a deal to sign Swedish talent Viktor Gyokeres.

One reason why it might have slipped Brighton fans by is that he did not join the club immediately. The young forward stayed with Brommapojkarna until the end of the Swedish second division season. At the time of the deal going through he had already scored 10 goals for the club. He ended the campaign with 13 league goals, helping his side win promotion back to the Swedish top-flight.

In January he finally arrived at Brighton and, judging by his form for the under-23 side, the Seagulls have an absolute talent on their hands.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Gyokeres ended up playing nine times for Brighton’s youngsters, scoring an impressive seven goals. It included a run of six goals in five games and the question must now be asked, could he be ready for the first-team?

Of course, it would be a massive gamble of Chris Hughton’s to throw Gyokeres into the Premier League starting XI from August.

But the Swede definitely deserves a chance to impress during pre-season. If he can do that, then seeing him in action during one of the cup competitions next season should feel like a foreign concept.

He is certainly a name for Brighton fans to remember. Because, next season, he might be their surprise package.

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Rangers should play the waiting game to seal Connor Goldson deal

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The calendar hasn’t even turned over from May to June and already Rangers’ transfer business is beginning to look like a saga as reports indicate that the Ibrox club could make a third improved bid for Brighton & Hove Albion defender Connor Goldson.

According to the Daily Record, a third bid will be made this week to add incentives and other add-ons to the £2 million fee which was rejected by the Seagulls on Friday.

It’s undeniable that Goldson must be one of the first names on Steven Gerrard’s shortlist of players to add to his squad before he arrives in Glasgow and Rangers are clearly intent on getting their man, but patience could prove fruitful in this case.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

To date, Rangers are the only club to be seriously linked with the former Shrewsbury Town man and his future at the American Express Community Stadium is on the edge. Having this week signed defender Leon Balogun from Mainz as cover for Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, Goldson could expect even less game time than the eight appearances he got in 2017/18.

With the Gers pushing so hard, you would expect that they know that the player is keen on the move too and there are still three months remaining in the transfer window for which the club can wait and negotiate.

A statement signing is important to go alongside the appointment of Gerrard and keep him happy right from the off, but those in charge of negotiations should be cautious not to rush into a deal which costs them more than it needs to when that money could be spent elsewhere.

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