BHAFC: Oliver Norwood signing a clever bit of business by Chris Hughton.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s new signing Oliver Norwood shouldn’t take too long to adapt at the south coast club, as he is a player who fits the mould of manager Chris Hughton’s way of playing perfectly.

The Northern Ireland international signed from Championship rivals Reading on a three-year deal, and could make his debut for the Seagulls against Derby County in this weekend’s Championship opener.

Norwood, 25, is a defensive midfielder who likes to dictate the play and spring the forwards into counter attacks through his vast range of passing.

The former Manchester United youngster is also a fine set piece taker, and his deliveries from corners and free kicks could offer something different for Brighton going into the new season.

Some see this move as a bad omen, and feel that the consequence of this signing will be the departure of Dale Stephens. The box-to-box midfielder has been on Burnley’s  wishlist all summer but there is no reason why Norwood, Stephens and Beram Kayal can’t all play in the same team.

Hughton may decide to switch from his traditional 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 formation. This would allow Norwood and Kayal to play alongside each other, with Stephens in a more advanced position.

In his first interview with the Argus, Norwood insisted that it was Chairman Tony Bloom and his determination to keep all of Albion’s in demand players at the club was key to him signing the contract.

This is positive news to hear, after the most recent speculation linked Anthony Knockaert with a move north to Newcastle United.

Bloom, like the manager and players, is as determined as ever to finally get this club into the Premier League, and keeping the star players during the transfer windows is the first little step towards that.

He may not be an Alex Pritchard, nor an attacking midfielder who will score 10+ goals for us this season, but Norwood didn’t cost eight million pounds to buy, and with just under 200 appearances in this league, he knows the Championship like the back of his hand.

With just under four weeks to go before the transfer window slams shut, fans will be hoping to see more new faces come through the doors in the coming days.

 

 

 

 

BHAFC: Interest in Tomer Hemed becoming difficult to shrug off.

It’s slowly becoming more and more like Brighton and Hove Albion are coming under heavy fire from the spending power of more reputable clubs.

The past week has seen bids made for key players come and go a plenty for key players Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens), and now Maccabi Haifa are set to imminently offer £5 million for the services of Tomer Hemed.

The Israeli striker only moved to the Amex last season on a three-year deal, but we all know contracts these days are about as worthless as a banged up motor left on the side of the road to rust.

Maccabi Haifa are looking to strengthen their offensive line ahead of their upcoming Europa League campaign, and Hemed is top of their list.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv are also considering making a bid for the 29-year old.

Hemed started his career at Haifa, scoring 16 goals in 47 appearances during a six year spell at the club before moving to Mallorca in 2011.

Last season the forward netted 17 times for the Seagulls as they came within a whisker of promotion to the Premier League.

Whilst some fans are crying out for the club to spend on a striker, keeping our current bunch has got to be the priority during this period of  transfer bombardment.

We don’t want to go into pre-season needing to bring in another two strikers when one is proving elusive so far.

Although Baldock and Murray could lead the line for the Albion, Hemed is a crucial part of Chris Hughton’s plans. Without doubt, he will be our first choice striker when we make the trip to Derby comes around, and I know the manager will do everything in his power to keep him on the south coast.

Hemed is loved by Albion fans, and a premature departure would spoil what has been a quite successful start to life in English football.

Yes the chance to play in Europe and return home could be two factors the striker may feel too good to pass up, but he did recently comment that he is focused on scoring more goals and helping our club reach the Premier League. To give up on that and join one of the Maccabi sides would be a bitter pill to swallow.