Heading into transfer deadline day Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton had outlined intentions to make some last-minute additions to his squad as they look to rectify their slow start.
And he came good on his promise today, with Italian defender Ezequiel Schelotto arriving from Sporting Lisbon with hours to go on transfer deadline day to bolster Brighton’s options at the back.
Who is Ezequiel Schelotto?
Much like the majority of Brighton’s other arrivals so far this summer there aren’t many that will have recognised the name Ezequiel Schelotto, but he could actually turn out to be the shrewdest signing yet.
The 28-year-old has spent the majority of his career to date in Italy following his rise through the youth system at Argentinian Superliga side Banfield, playing for six different clubs across six years.
The most recognisable of these was his spell at Inter Milan, although after just half a season and a handful of appearances he was loaned out to Sassuolo and never found his way back into the team.
It seems that his career has finally taken off in the past few years though since moving to Portugal and to Sporting Lisbon, helping them to second and third-place finishes in the two seasons, and he’s at his peak.
What is the deal?
According to Brighton’s official website Schelotto will join the Seagulls on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee after completing the required paperwork today, not needing a work permit to sign.
Where can the Italian slot in at Brighton?
The Italian’s natural position on the pitch has always been on the right side of defence, but he’s become more versatile as his career has gone on and will provide competition across the back-line at Brighton.
He’s a strong player on the ball and, perhaps importantly considering he’s moved to the Premier League, he’s an intelligent one too and he has developed an excellent judgement of whether to dive in or not.
This footballing brain also means that he’s constantly aware of the positioning of himself and his teammates and it’s this sense of discipline that could be the catalyst for top-flight survival this year.
What was the reaction to the switch?
Speaking about his latest addition, boss Hughton said:
“We are delighted that Ezequiel is joining us.
“He has made nearly 190 appearances in the top flight in Italy and Portugal and has played in the Champions League, and is the type of experienced player we want to add to the squad.
“He can also play as a more attacking wing-back and so gives us some good options in defence.”
The Italian could make his Premier League debut when West Brom pay a visit on September 9.