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BARBER ON THE TRANSFER WINDOW

31 August 2016

With the transfer window closing a few minutes ago, Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has given his thoughts on the club's transfer dealings over the summer.


Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber says the club has achieved its main aim of keeping their top players, after narrowly missing out on promotion last season.

Barber is also satisfied with the club's five new additions, but admitted the club would have liked to have added an additional attacking option.

He said, "Our key objective this summer was to retain our best players which, despite a lot interest and a number of offers for different players in our squad, we have managed to do.

"We have an excellent group of players here at the Albion and, having narrowly missed out on reaching the Premier League last season, we felt it was very important to keep the group together for another promotion challenge this year.

"We also wanted to add more depth to our squad in the three key central areas. By bringing in Glenn Murray, Ollie Norwood, Shane Duffy and re-signing Steve Sidwell, we've achieved this too.

"Liam Rosenior's injury at Reading will see him miss at least three months of this season, so this meant we also needed to add further cover at full back. We were therefore delighted to secure Sebastien Pocognoli on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion late last night."

With no emergency loans available to EFL clubs from this season onwards, Barber also explained that the club's recruitment team has also looked to expand the under-23 group to provide additional cover for the first-team squad.

He added, "With no emergency loan window going forward, we also wanted to further strengthen our development squad. Sam Adekugbe, Tyler Hornby-Forbes and Ben Hall have joined this group during the summer and their challenge, along with their teammates, is to breakthrough to the first-team group.

"It's also been encouraging to see our academy graduates, like Ben White and Rob Hunt, as well as Sam, already stepping up from the under-23 squad, getting first-team game time and good experience in the early weeks of the season, and giving a good account of themselves.

"We have also been further buoyed by the return to fitness of Solly March and Uwe Huenemeier from long-term injuries - and Connor Goldson has now recovered from the injury which ruled him out of the first five games of the season."

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Meanwhile, Barber concurs with manager Chris Hughton's view, and says the squad is good enough to mount another promotion challenge this season.

"Overall, we are very pleased with our work in this summer's transfer window. We would have definitely liked to have added another attacking option but, as has been well documented, our plan to sign Alex Pritchard didn't come off and our other targets couldn't be prised from their existing clubs.

"Our fans know, we will only spend money on players that strengthen our group, and in an over-heated market we won't over-pay for alternatives that simply don't meet this objective and would just be a case of adding numbers.

"With the work our chairman, Chris and the recruitment team, led by Paul Winstanley, have done this summer - and in the previous three transfer windows - we are very confident that we have very healthy competition for places, strength and depth, and very good offensive and defensive options all over the pitch to mount another strong challenge for promotion.

"Transfer windows can be very unsettling periods, particularly for very good players that have an option to play at a higher level. There’s no doubt that the timing of the transfer window adds to the pressure and stress on all those involved.

"In each window, the club must always balance the interests of individual players with its own ambitions - and these ambitions won’t always coincide - along with the expectations of fans who want the club to continue to progress.

"We are very fortunate in that we have a highly professional group of players and staff in all areas of the football club and our collective responsibility now is to re-focus on the 41 Championship games ahead of us and on our primary ambition of reaching the Premier League.

"Once again, our fans will play a massive part in this. We're all looking forward to getting back to match action starting with next week's home match against Brentford at the Amex."

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