Brighton and Hove Albion continue to surprise. The Seagulls were in League One as recently as 2011, and they look on course to secure survival in their first ever Premier League season.
They have signed well in recent transfer windows, and with a new stadium to boot, there looks to be no stopping Brighton with a lengthy stay in the Premier League on the cards.
With that in mind, Brighton are a great club to manage in Football Manager 2018, having just enough to stay up this season, but with the potential to become a top half club.
RealSport brings you everything you need to know as you set up with the Seagulls on FM 18.
Brighton managing director Paul Barber will welcome you to the club and will inform you that there are no philosophies to follow as the manager. You can present your own to the board, but with Premier League survival the ultimate goal this season, you will not want to put any added pressure on yourself.
Chairman Tony Bloom will then issue the expectations for the season. The higher the target you go for, the greater the transfer budget you will receive. The default is to avoid relegation in the Premier Division, reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. If you aim for a mid-table finish, you will receive close to £1 million for your transfer budget, with goals of both cup quarterfinals giving you an extra £30,000.
Transfer: £1 million
Wage: £998,000 per week (Current spend: £962,000)
Brighton have used a 4-4-1-1 formation this season to maximise the influence of star man Pascal Gross, and although you go with this system on FM 18, we have tweaked it into a 4-2-3-1 Wide. When Beram Kayal returns from injury however, you should consider switching to a 4-3-3 Wide. A simplistic 4-4-2 is another option.
Mathew Ryan is in goal, and he has a back four of Bruno, Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Markus Suttner in front of him.
Architects Davy Propper and Pascal Gross are in central midfield, with Anthony Knockaert operating in the number 10 role. Ezequiel Schelotto and Jose Izquierdo are out wide as Tomer Hemed leads the line.
Upon Kayal’s return to fitness, put him in a flat midfield three, move Knockaert out wide to the right and Schelotto to right back in place of Bruno.
On the bench go for Tim Krul, Uwe Hunemeier, Liam Rosenior, Steve Sidwell, Solly March, Jurgen Locadia and Glenn Murray.
Brighton’s transfer activity last summer brought in some top talent, and they now hold players that could challenge for places in any Premier League side.
Davy Propper – CA 4 star (143), PA 4 star (146)
Davy Propper arrived at the Amex Stadium in the summer for a club-record fee, and he's the man that makes the team tick. The 25-year-old is a Dutch international, and the former PSV midfielder has been a regular for the Seagulls this campaign, chalking up over 35 appearances in all competitions.
Propper has a 143 current ability rating on FM 18, which can improve slightly to 146. The Dutchman’s best stats are 16 first touch, 16 passing and 16 vision.
Pascal Gross – CA 4 star (142), PA 4 star (150)
It’s a similar story for Pascal Gross, and although Propper may be the heartbeat of the Brighton side, Pascal Gross is the catalyst. The German has scored six and assisted a further eight in what has been a remarkable season, and at 26, Brighton may struggle to keep hold of him for much longer.
Gross’s 142 CA can improve to a very impressive 150 potential. His best skills are 16 work rate, 16 composure and 16 free kick taking.
Anthony Knockaert – CA 4 star (139), PA 4 star (142)
Although we haven’t seen the Anthony Knockaert that won the Championship Player of the Year award last season, his showings in that promotion campaign deserve him the time to acclimatise to the demands of the Premier League. The right or attacking midfielder has only scored three times and assisted twice all season; expect that to improve next season.
Knockaert holds a CA of 139 of FM, which has the capacity to improve to a 142 potential. The 25-year-old’s best attributes are 17 work rate, 17 natural fitness and 16 dribbling.
Names such as Gareth Barry, Bobby Zamora and current players Lewis Dunk and Solly March have all been products of Brighton’s youth system in the past. Can you find the next gem lurking in your youth squad?
Viktor Gyokeres – CA 2 star (105), PA 3-4 star (120-150)
The 19-year-old Viktor Gyokeres could be called upon this season, due to the striker being a different mould to big men Tomer Hemed, Glenn Murray and Leonardo Ulloa. The Swede can also play out wide, and you should perhaps look to use him on the bench for the early rounds of the cup competitions. A 105 CA can improve to a potential between 120 and 150, so perhaps a loan spell could be on the cards for the teenager.
Jayson Molumby – CA 1.5 star (90), PA 3.5 star (120-150)
A shortage in central midfield could see you needing to call upon Jayson Molumby at the start of the season although the 17-year-old isn’t quite ready for Premier League action. The young Irishman has a current ability of 90 with the potential to reach between 120 and 150, making him another candidate for loan, perhaps in January once your injury problems have subsided.
Steven Alzate – CA 1.5 star (84), PA 2.5-3.5 star (120-150)
Attacking midfielder Steven Alzate still needs one more year in the youth setup before you consider calling up for the first team. The 18-year-old joined the Seagulls in the summer after impressing for Leyton Orient in the second half of the season and has been a regular for the Brighton U23 side this year. His 84 CA can improve to a potential between 120-150.
|Youth prospects||First touch|
|Central midfield depth||Passing|
|Attack midfield depth||Coaching staff|
|Right wing depth||Scouting staff|
|Star defenders (Bruno, Shane Duffy)|
|Star midfielder (Davy Propper)|
Team Leaders - Glenn Murray, Bruno (c), Lewis Dunk
Highly influential - Anthony Knockaert, Dale Stephens, Steve Sidwell, Beram Kayal, Liam Rosenior, Tomer Hemed, Sam Baldock
Dynamics is the main new feature for Football Manager 2018, depicting the atmosphere inside the dressing room at your club. You must identify the hierarchy within the squad as well as the social groups to understand which players affect others. With that mind, be careful what words and tone you use when dealing with certain players, as what you say can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the squad. If the dressing rooms turns against you, performances on the pitch will dwindle.
After a busy summer, there is just £1 million left for you to spend at Brighton & Hove Albion. That leaves you no choice but to sell-to-buy if you wish to bring new talent. Due to the sales we wish to make (see players to sell), we have increased the transfer budget of £5 million, and wage budget to £50,000 remaining a week.
Left back – Dmitry Kombarov (CA 133, PA 140)
Left back is the weakest position in the team, and although you are on a limited budget, you should have enough to find at least a short-term solution. The 30-year-old Dmitry Kombarov is exactly that, but aged 30 you may even be able to get three seasons out of him in the first team.
Spartak Moscow man Kombarov can be picked up for around £3.8 million with his current wages at £27,000 a week. That will get you his 133 current ability score which can still lean towards his 140 potential. The Russian international has stats of 16 stamina, 16 penalty taking and 15 determination.
- Vitaly Denisov – Age 30, Lokomotiv Moscow, Uzbekistan, CA 132, PA 135, Value: £2m, Wage: £21k
- Georgi Shchennikov – Age 26, CSKA Moscow, Russia, CA 130, PA 133, Value: £1.8m, Wage: 19k
- Massimo Gobbi – Age 36, Chievo, Italy, CA 130, PA 136, Value: £350k, Wage: £13k
- Luisinho – Age 32, Coruna, Portugal, CA 133, PA 140, Value: £2.2m, Wage: £12k
Players to sell
In order to bring in a new left back you will have to sell a left back. Central midfield is another option, but with so few available to you currently, you cannot risk selling one before bringing another in.
Gaetan Bong is by no means a bad player, but with him playing second fiddle to the marginally better Markus Suttner at left back, you need to look at other options. The Cameroonian international is also out of contract at the end of the season, so will need to sell him ASAP to get the most for him.
Bong’s 124 CA and 125 PA should collect you around £4 million, saving on the 29-year-old’s £20,000 a week in wages.
Considering Brighton spent big last summer, signing 13 players, the financial picture at the Amex is in good health. Yes, you may only have £1 million remaining in your transfer budget, but that will rise to £28 million next season, and £40 million the following season.
Elsewhere, the overall balance of the club is on the up, and it will come out of debt at the end of the season. The club’s turnover remains constant, whilst an initial drop in profits will spike up towards the end of the campaign.
Seagulls taking flight
Premier League survival looks to be secured, and now Brighton & Hove Albion can look ahead. If you sign well in the next few seasons, there is no reason why you can’t take the Seagulls into the top half of the division, especially given the entire bottom half has been involved in a relegation battle in the past few seasons.
Perhaps your hardest decision is whether to just start your FM career with Brighton and then move on to a bigger club or try and build them towards a European contender. This will no doubt hinge on how well you perform and how quickly, but you should certainly be living Brighton in a better position than when you found them.
Brighton & Hove Albion first team squad, player roles and ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Mathew Ryan||25||GK||Sweeper Keeper||Support||3.5 star||133/ 144|
|Bruno||36||DR||Wing-Back||Defend||3.5 star||131/ 139|
|Shane Duffy||25||DCR||Defensive Centre Back||Any||3.5 star||135/ 140|
|Lewis Dunk||25||DCL||Ball Playing Defender||Defend/ Stopper||3.5 star||136/ 150|
|Markus Suttner||30||DL||Wing-Back/ Full-Back||Defend/ Attack||3 star||128/ 129|
|Davy Propper||25||MCR||Deep Lying/ Advanced Playmaker||Support||4 star||143/ 146|
|Pascal Gross||26||MCL||Advanced Playmaker||Support||4 star||142/ 150|
|Ezequiel Schelotto||28||AMR||Winger||Support||3 star||134/ 146|
|Anthony Knockaert||25||AMC||Trequartista/ Inside Forward||Support/ Attack||3 star/ 4 star||139/ 142|
|Jose Izquierdo||25||AML||Inside Forward||Support||3.5 star||134/ 137|
|Tomer Hemed||30||STC||Target Man||Attack/ Support||3 star||133/ 144|
|Tim Krul||29||GK||Goalkeeper||Defend||3 star||124/ 152|
|Uwe Hunemeier||31||D (C)||Defensive Centre Back/ Central Defender||Any/ Defend||3 star||127/ 129|
|Liam Rosenior||33||D (RL) WB (R) M (R)||Wing-Back||Defend||3 star||125/ 136|
|Steve Sidwell||34||M (C)||Ball Winning Midfielder||Support||3 star||123/ 140|
|Solly March||23||M (RL) AM (RLC)||Inside Forward||Support||3 star||130/ 141|
|Jurgen Locadia||23||AM (L) ST (C)||Inside Forward||Attack||3 star||131/ 138|
|Glenn Murray||33||ST (C)||Advanced Forward||Attack||3 star||131/ 131|
|Connor Goldson||24||D (C)||Defensive Centre Back/ Central Defender||Any/ Defend||3 star||125/ 140|
|Gaetan Bong||29||D (L) WB (L)||Full-Back||Attack||3 star||124/ 125|
|Leonardo Ulloa||31||ST (C)||Target Man||Support||3 star||130/ 137|
|Beram Kayal||29||DM M (C)||Ball Winning Midfielder||Defend||3.5 star||134/ 138|
|Dale Stephens||28||DM M (C)||Ball Winning Midfielder||Support||3.5 star||133/ 135|
|Sam Baldock||28||ST (C)||Defensive Forward||Support/ Defend||3 star||124/ 128|
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