Reports coming out of England indicate that revelations of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion, will face a battle with two big names to keep two of their best players this season.
Brighton have been one of the Premier League’s standout teams this season, keeping the tradition of the past few seasons where a mid-table team challenges the big teams.
Manager Graham Potter has built a solid squad that have stood toe to toe with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, and are currently in ninth place in the league, which primes them for a first-ever appearance in European competitions.
Two of their best performers in former Barcelona man Marc Cucurella and Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma are now targets of Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively. Chelsea want Cucurella in the summer but will have to sell Marcos Alonso to help facilitate the move.
The Spaniard was reportedly on the Blues’ radar before they brought Ben Chilwell over to Stamford Bridge from Leicester City in 2020. Now, they have reportedly reignited their interest in the Spaniard, who only moved from Getafe to the Amex stadium in the summer on a five-year contract.
Alonso, 31, has 18 months left on his Chelsea contract and the Blues are reported to not be interested in extending his contract. They are instead looking forward to the summer to cash in on the Spaniard, who is only enjoying a run of games this season due to Chilwell’s season-ending injury.
Gerrard confirms Brighton rejected a bid for Bissouma in January
While they face a battle for Cucurella, Brighton will also have to fight to convince Bissouma to stay at the Amex beyond the summer. Bissouma, who just returned from an outing with Mali at the just concluded African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, has been the subject of several transfer speculations in the past.
The midfielder was also reported to be seeking a move away from the club last summer but none materialised.
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has claimed that the club put in a bid for the Mali international to the tune of £25 million in January which was rejected by Brighton. He has also hinted that they will be back again in the summer for the player.
Gerrard said in his pre-match press conference as Villa prepare to face Leeds United: “We put in a bid that was turned away, and we respected that. If a move is not right then we will not become desperate and make decisions we do not think are right.
“Marvelous Nakamba will be fit again soon so we’ll assess the situation as we go along. But I won’t compromise in certain situations because our fans and the club deserve the right people in the right positions.
“Going into this window with Nakamba injured, it was a priority to try to solve the problem. But we won’t try to find Plan B, C, D or E. We will keep pushing and try to get the right person.”