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21 May 2014

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Brighton & Hove Albion’s latest addition Nzuzi Toko says he turned down Champions League football because he wants to experience English football and feels the Albion is a club heading in the right direction.

The 23-year-old admitted that it was hard to leave Grasshopper Zurich, a club who've qualified for next season's Champions League, and one he had been with for over a decade, but he is convinced that he has made the right move.

He told, “I had other options in Turkey and Italy, but I've always liked English football. It was a dream ever since I was a child to play in England, and for me, Brighton & Hove Albion is a club of the future and this is why I made the decision.

"I’ve been at Zurich for more than 12 years, so it’s a very long time and it was very hard as I have a lot of friends there. My relationship with the fans was very close. It was very hard in the last game; it was emotional for me. 
“It’s the first time I have left a club, I have never changed a club before, but it’s a new challenge here at Brighton and one I am looking forward to. I’m very thankful to be here and I hope that one day we can play in the Premier League.
“I was here before to see the training ground and the stadium and I could see the history of the club and with the new stadium and training ground, it’s an exciting future. It’s very organised and I’m very proud to be a part of it. I am sure it’s going to be a good few years.“
Toko will now be looking to stake his claim for a place in Albion’s first team during pre-season and admitted he can bring a versatility to the squad by playing in various positions, but prefers to be involved in the middle of the action.
"It’s a little bit crazy but last season my normal position at Grasshoppers was number six or number eight, but I also played at number ten because when someone was injured I played there too.
“I have also played right-back and left-back and I was even the goalkeeper once in the cup because our keeper was red carded... and we still won! I played in nearly every position last season but my normal position is number six or number eight.
“I like to be in the middle of midfield: I am very physical and a strong player, and I know that the Championship is a physical league. I hope that I can learn and adapt quickly to Championship football. As I said, I know it’s very hard and that there are a lot of games.”

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