Murray: I told Albion to buy Joao Pedro three years ago!

Striker joined Albion from Watford on a five-year deal.

By Charlie Hanson • 14 June 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Joao Pedro played alongside Glenn Murray during the 2020/21 campaign.

Glenn Murray reckons he deserves some of the credit for Albion’s capture of striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

Albion’s joint topscorer in the Premier League spent the first half of the 2020/21 season with the Hornets, where the Brazilian caught his eye, having moved from Fluminense to Hertfordshire midway through the previous campaign.

“I was that impressed that within a week I had called Brighton and said ‘you need to buy this kid!’," Murray recalled. "When I was with him he was only 19, but he made the game look easy. I said to Albion you need to get this kid because he’s special.

“I’ll never forget when Ben White stepped up to the first team with us at Brighton and everyone was thinking ‘he’s really good’. You can have a lot of kids step in and they don’t necessarily catch your eye, but there’s one every now and then where they step up and you know they’re decent. Joao was that player, it felt like a strong squad at the time but Joao stood out on all levels.

“He is very bubbly, he’s a really nice, happy lad who loves playing football. He’s never happier than when he’s got a ball at his feet to be honest. He’s always smiling, laughing and having a bit of banter. He’s a good kid. There is that jokey side to him, but once he crosses the white line there’s a steeliness to him. He’s built, he’s athletic."

Glenn envisages the 21-year-old settling quickly with a number of South Americans already in the first team squad.

“Joao knows a couple of the players, but he has lived in the country for three years now, he will have adapted to the lifestyle, culture and weather. He understands the football pyramid in England and I think he will hit the ground running.

By Watford FC
Joao Pedro scored 11 goals in 35 Championship appearances last season.

“It can only help him having the South American players here already. I have played abroad and you tend to gravitate towards your own countrymen because you’ve got that in common. I can only see positive things happening with Joao in a Brighton shirt, I am really excited about this signing.

“Him, Facundo Buonanotte and Julio Enciso, three South American youngsters loving life in the Premier League will be something special to watch. He will benefit from the structure at Brighton, he will have a clear understanding of what Roberto expects from him and Roberto will give him a clear path as to how to bring his ability to the fore.

"We’ve got a system and a style that the club maintains regardless of who is in charge. I’ve seen Joao in Championship games where he was nearly given a free role because he was that good. But I think we will see a much better player than we have seen before because he will have that structure.”