Why Brighton should reignite their interest in Spanish star Portu
Back in June 2019, a report from Brighton and Hove Independent had mentioned Brighton and fellow Premier League outfit West Ham among the potential suitors for Spanish creative wizard Portu, who was plying his trade with Girona back then.
However, the English clubs eventually lost out in the race to sign the versatile attacking midfielder, who ended up joining Real Sociedad last summer following Girona’s relegation.
A youth exponent of Valencia, Portu made over 100 appearances for the reserve side in the Spanish third division. However, he managed just a couple of first-team appearances for his boyhood club before rising to prominence with Albacete in the Segunda Division.
Portu joined Girona in the summer of 2016 after Albacete’s relegation and played a key role in guiding the club to La Liga promotion with 8 goals and 8 assists in 41 appearances. He bettered those numbers in the following campaign, registering 11 goals and 5 assists in his debut season in the top-flight as Girona comfortably beat the drop.
However, the talented attacker couldn’t save Girona from relegation at the end of the 2018-19 season despite scoring 9 times in 34 league outings. Portu was then offered an escape route by Real Sociedad. He has continued to strengthen his credentials as a quality footballer in Spain, contributing with 11 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances.
Portu would add more quality to the Brighton attack
Brighton have adopted an attractive and aesthetic brand of football since the appointment of Graham Potter at the helm of affairs last summer. But the Seagulls have often struggled for end product in front of goal, as evident from their tally of just 39 goals in the Premier League last term.
They have scored 11 times in 8 league games so far this season but have managed just a single victory so far. Indeed, the south coast club are operating under a long-term strategy with some exciting young players in the set-up. But they need some experienced heads to achieve the desired results.
Brighton roped in Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck on free transfers in the summer to add more creativity and goalscoring firepower to their squad. But they can certainly do with more upgrades moving forward.
Potter needs to find a way to offload underachievers like Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Florin Andone to make room for fresh faces. Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard have been really impressive over the past 12 months. But youngster Aaron Connolly is yet to evolve into a regular goalscorer at this level.
Suffice to say, Brighton should consider bringing in another goalscoring creative midfielder in January. And they need not look beyond one of their previous targets, Portu. The Spaniard is essentially a right-winger by trade but is also capable of playing through the middle as a supporting striker.
A potential deal for the 28-year-old would, therefore, add more depth, quality and experience to a Brighton attack that relies largely on the exuberance of youth. Portu is adept at both scoring and creating goals, as evident from his impressive track record of 31 goals and 18 assists in 115 career appearances in the La Liga.
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Portu still has several years remaining in his prime at 28, thus making him worth a significant outlay for Brighton in the market. The Seagulls need more experience and quality in their attack. The Spaniard seems to have both in abundance. Having said that, Potter should definitely try to make a renewed attempt to sign the Real Sociedad star in January.