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Brighton and Hove Albion

Will Celtic’s Moussa Dembele look to progress with a Premier League move?

Jake Jackman

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Dembele

The transfer window is fast approaching and Brighton look set to make an early breakthrough with the signing of Celtic striker Moussa Dembele. According to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol, the two clubs have agreed a fee of £18 million for the French striker. The Seagulls had been heavily linked to the player, but it will come as a surprise if a deal has been reached with the Bhoys. The Scottish Premier League club know that the 21-year-old is an asset that continues to increase in value and it could be that this story has been leaked to flush out more interest.

However, the transfer window is rarely clear cut and there are parties operating with different objectives. Every story needs to be treated with caution and The Sun have posted a contradictory report, with Celtic sources branding Sky’s story as ‘nonsense’. This is certainly a story to keep an eye on. The report from Sky may be premature, but they are a reliable source and it does seem like there is some substance to the transfer story.

Brighton fans will understandably be excited about the potential of Dembele, as they are in dire need of more attacking options. Glenn Murray has been their main striker for the first half of the season. Although he is doing well, there are doubts about his ability to be a starting Premier League striker for the long-term. The Seagulls are likely to be in a relegation battle and they need a more reliable source of goals to ensure they do remain out of the bottom three.

During their last seven Premier League matches, Brighton have scored only two goals. An organised defence has allowed them to continue picking up points, but they can’t expect to stay clear of danger unless they score more often. They have some excellent midfield players that are capable of creating chances, such as Davy Propper, Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross. If they can bring in a quality striker to help out Murray and chip in with a few goals, they will be in a great position to do well during the second half of the season.

His career to date

The Frenchman first came to England when he joined Fulham as a teenager from Paris Saint Germain.

He initially made headlines for his name, rather than his reputation on the pitch, with the Cottagers losing Mousa Dembele to Tottenham at the same time his younger namesake (a slight spelling difference aside) arrived at Craven Cottage. It was a great piece of scouting from the club and academy director Huw Jennings told BBC Sport why the striker had emerged on their radar:

“When Moussa was 16 there was no doubt he possessed all the raw ingredients you look for in a striker. He’s got pace and power, he can finish, use both feet and he is good in the air. He has got good intelligence.”

“What stood out for me was not only what you could see on the pitch but I felt a calmness and assuredness off the pitch. It is not easy coming across from a foreign country at a young age and the thing Moussa has had to demonstrate more than any others is resilience.”

It didn’t take long for Dembele to feature in the first-team, as he made his Premier League debut in November 2013 and featured on one more occasion during the relegation season. The drop to the Championship was a massive blow for the club, but it provided a chance for the young players to make a mark at senior level. The Frenchman grabbed that with both hands and was one of the best young players during the 2015-16 campaign.

He started 37 Championship matches and made a further six appearances from the bench as he began to develop a reputation as one of the best young players in the Football League. Dembele contributed an impressive 15 goals and six assists, with a goal involvement rate of one every 160 minutes. Unluckily for Fulham, he was in the final year of his contract and he opted to move on at the end of the season on a free transfer.

According to BBC Sport, he came close to joining Tottenham during the January transfer window, with a deal being agreed for £5 million. That deal didn’t come to fruition. but it underlines how highly-rated the Frenchman is in the game. He remained with Fulham for the rest of the season before joining Celtic in the summer. It was a decision that raised eyebrows, but he quickly became the best player in the division and the leader of the attack.

A lot of young players have been criticised for making the jump to a big club too soon, but Dembele’s career has been well mapped out and that shows his impressive temperament. Few 16-year-olds would choose to leave PSG to join Fulham, but the striker is determined to make it to the top and he isn’t afraid for it to be a slow journey.

Since joining Celtic, he has continued to develop and his role in their unbeaten domestic season cannot be underplayed, as he registered 27 goals across all domestic competitions. The Scottish league is not as good as it once was, in terms of quality, but it is still a huge responsibility to play for Celtic and Dembele has thrived under that. Brendan Rodgers has been a huge influence on his star striker’s career and believes that he can go to the very top:

“Moussa showed last year that when he’s fit he’s got that capability to play at that level and that’s all you want.

“Now it’s the case of over the next few years consistently showing that he can do that.”

Celtic and Rodgers will be realistic when it comes to their chances of keeping hold of the 21-year-old. The latest links to Brighton may come as a surprise, as it was expected that a bigger club would come in for him. However, his career path to date shows that he is keen to earn his way to the top and prioritises first-team football over club prestige.

In the modern game, a move from Celtic to a bottom-half Premier League club is a step upwards. It is important that Dembele proves himself in one of the top five European leagues and a transfer to the Seagulls would be a logical move for him.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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.

Photo: Getty Images

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.

Photo: Getty Images

“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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Brighton and Hove Albion

Rangers should play the waiting game to seal Connor Goldson deal

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Photo: Getty Images.

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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