Veltman: Former teammates questioned bargain move

Dutch international joined Albion from Ajax last summer.

By Charlie Hanson • 19 April 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Joel Veltman will be aiming for his tenth consecutive Premier League start at Chelsea.

Joel Veltman laughed when asked if he was 'a bargain buy' for Albion.

“A lot of my teammates at Ajax asked me in the beginning 'why did we only sell you for €1 million?',” he recalls. “But I was telling them that I had planned to leave for a couple of years.

“I would have left sooner, but I was injured one year and then Matthijs de Ligt went to Juventus so I stayed. Ajax knew I wanted to try something different and they put the release clause in my last contract.”

The 29-year-old has got exactly what he asked for on the south coast.

“I really like fighting for the points in the Premier League, I left Ajax because I wanted a fresh experience and coming to the Premier League I have got that. the levels are so high in every game.

“Ajax are competing for the title every year in Holland, whereas at Brighton we know realistically that we're not at that level yet. But we do go into every game with the mentality to win all three points, in Holland it is easier to do that than it is in England.

“The only thing I am really finding difficult is the accents, especially when some of the boys speak quickly. All the players are really great to me though, especially when I first joined. The problem has obviously been COVID-19, we haven't been able to go out for meals together and have proper team days out.”

Veltman is more than confident Albion can secure their Premier League status in the coming weeks. They are away to Chelsea in their next game on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

“We can do it. If we weren't creating chances and couldn't get out of our own box, I would be worried. But we create chances, we have better games than the opponent, we will get the points we need. We will be safe at the end of the season, for sure.

By Paul Hazlewood
The defender joined Albion after spending his entire career with Ajax.

“We're an amazing team and have put in some brilliant performances and in most games we have played well but we haven't always got the goal to get us over the line – look at the Palace game where we had loads of chances, but they took all three points.”

And his most difficult opponent in the Premier League this campaign?

“[Liverpool's] Diogo Jota was very good. And then [Wolves'] Adama Traore is so strong and has so much pace, he was so good. I saw a video of him putting baby oil on his arms, but he needs it otherwise opponents can grab him!”