Transfer Talk: Seagulls face battle to hold on to terrific Trossard
It was a miserable return to the South Coast for ex-Brighton boss Graham Potter as his Chelsea team slumped to a 4-1 loss at the Amex.
Heavily involved as the hosts put the Blues to the sword was Leandro Trossard — a man brought to the Seagulls by Potter in 2019.
Trossard's stunning display could well see the in-form attacker, 27, jump further up Chelsea’s list of transfer targets in January as the new boss looks to reshape his squad.
But Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle are all said to be ready to rival Potter's advances.
With Trossard and his team-mates preparing to face struggling Wolves in their next game on Saturday, we assess whether the Belgian could soon be on the move.
Best season yet
In opening the scoring in Saturday’s impressive win, Trossard took his tally for the season to seven goals in 12 games.
That is just one shy of the total he managed in 34 league appearances in the whole of last season and two more than his return in his second Brighton campaign in 2020-21.
The versatile forward was deployed as Brighton’s lone striker against the Blues and his ruthless performance showed exactly why.
After a goal-line clearance by Thiago Silva had denied his delightful lob moments before, the Seagulls' No11 showed great composure to round Kepa Arrizabalaga and fire low into the bottom corner — a finish which is now becoming his trademark.
Former Premier League striker Gabriel Agbonlahor said of the in-form star: "He’s improved so much and he’s adding goals as well.
"He could be one that starts regularly for his country, Belgium.
"He’s going to attract a lot of clubs across Europe, Premier League clubs will look at him as well. I think he could do a job at Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs.
"Playing like he is, maybe January. If Brighton can get a bit of money for him, they might look to sell him in January."
Potter's previous links to Brighton and Trossard mean it is no surprise to see Chelsea listed as a frontrunner for the forward's signature.
Given the teething problems that have emerged in Chelsea’s recent performances, the arrival of someone who knows how to thrive in Potter’s system could be worth its weight in gold.
The technically-gifted attacker featured in multiple positions for the 47-year-old coach at Brighton, often switching between left wing-back, left midfield and up front.
With forward Raheem Sterling deployed in the wing-back position on Saturday, Trossard would certainly hand the Solihull-born tactician a boost in that area.
The player has also admitted a move to Stamford Bridge would be one that attracts him.
He recently said: "Our coach did leave for Chelsea but speculation about me following him makes no sense.
"If the opportunity arises, I want to go. But I want to play and not sit on the bench."
But while Chelsea may seem the logical move, Trossard would be foolish to discount the other potential suitors said to be vying for his signature.
Among those names are table-toppers Arsenal, who are expected to be busy in the January window as they look to form a squad capable of maintaining their title challenge.
Trossard would undoubtedly be a high-quality addition to Mikel Arteta’s outfit and the North Londoners are perhaps a more attractive proposition than their city rivals right now.
It is easy to see why Tottenham might be keen too, with the Brighton man familiar with a 3-4-3 formation and boss Antonio Conte desperate to add some energy in attack.
There are also reported advances from Newcastle, who are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and are not short of the financial muscle needed to get a deal done.
Magpies sporting director Dan Ashworth, previously of Brighton, is no stranger to Trossard, of course, while a regular starting spot looks most likely with Eddie Howe’s men.
But it seems Brighton will be looking to hold firm on Trossard after seeing Chelsea recently raid them for their manager, defender Marc Cucurella and a number of their backroom staff.
And given Trossard broke a Premier League record by scoring the first five goals of new manager Roberto De Zerbi’s reign, it is no surprise to see the Italian is keen to keep hold of his star man.
Asked if he wants to see Trossard extend his Brighton stay beyond the end of this season, De Zerbi said: "Yes but this is not the right moment to speak about the new contract.
"But in terms of the other players, for sure I hope and I would like Trossard to sign a new contract. But for the moment we have spoken about this with the club."
The Seagulls recently tied Alexis Mac Allister to a new deal and have made no secret of their desire to keep Trossard, suggesting Chelsea and others will face an uphill task to poach their stars.
But if he continues to light up the Premier League, they may find it increasingly difficult to resist the advances of the division’s elite.