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What will Brighton do next with Ireland’s Evan Ferguson?


Brighton and Hove Albion have rightfully been given the tag of the best-run club in world football. The reason for this reputation is simple: the Seagulls buy low and sell high – ensuring that the club makes an eye-watering profit in the transfer window.

Brighton’s blueprint

As sure as night follows day, Brighton will identify and sign the next big name in football before demanding a king’s ransom from the biggest clubs in the league who want to recruit these players.

Last season alone the Seagulls made £165 million from player sales. The bulk of this sum was made by selling Moisés Caicedo to Chelsea for £115 million and Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool for £35 million. Crucially, Brighton only paid £4 million for Caicedo and £7 million for Mac Allister.

While these were seismic fees, there was a feeling on the South Coast in 2023 that the sale of Irish striker Evan Ferguson would yield the biggest profit in the club’s history when the time came to entertain bids.

The biggest fish yet

Brighton signed Ferguson from Dublin-based side Bohemians in 2021 for an undisclosed fee – believed to be less than half a million pounds.

Ferguson took to life in the Premier League with remarkable ease after leaving Ireland’s capital – scoring six goals and assisting twice in 19 appearances during his debut season in the English top flight.

This impressive return led to Manchester United bidding £50 million for the forward during the 2023 summer transfer window.
Brighton laughed off the offer and quickly placed a £120 million price tag on Ferguson after a man-of-the-match performance against Newcastle in September 2023 during a game where he scored a hattrick.

Essentially, the Seagulls knew they had a strong bargaining hand and were out to land an unprecedented fee.

However, the following eight months after making international headlines against Newcastle saw Ferguson net just two goals. It was a drop-off that few expected and might mean that Brighton passed up the chance of banking a £50 million profit on the player considering how much the Irishman’s value would have depreciated.

While the Brighton board might have been accused of lacking foresight, this is, of course, the nature of the transfer market where you can play too aggressively with the hand you have. Walking away with the money is much easier said than done when you have a history of getting every last penny from would-be buyers.

Indeed, while Kenny Rogers might have been adamant about knowing when to hold ’em and knowing when to fold ’em, the reality is that it’s incredibly difficult to mitigate against risk in the transfer market owing to how volatile it is.

The Wild West of the transfer market

At least, it is not like other industries where you can have a safety net in place to protect you from unexpected loss.

For instance, you have car insurance to soften the financial blow of any out-of-the-blue damage. Likewise, you might access travel insurance to cover any unforeseen issues when on holiday. The list is extensive, so much so that you can even find insurance in the gaming industry by accessing one of the best casino bonuses which allows free spins on the jackpot when you get started.

While these are differing examples, the broader point is that there are no measures in place to safeguard against loss in the transfer market if a player’s value drops. You simply have to take your medicine and try and learn from the lessons that losing millions teaches.

Stick or twist?

Now, the question is, what do Brighton do next, do they wait to see if the value of their investment goes up again or look to sell for a marked-down price in the knowledge that they paid a nominal fee for the Bettystown-born Ferguson?

The answer might be found in the fact that the club’s owner Tony Bloom is a professional gambler who is a regular on the international poker circuit. If Bloom thinks he’s got a strong hand, he’ll play it to the death. Don’t expect the Seagulls to let a player who was once world football’s most talked-about upcoming star leave anytime soon.


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