Yves Bissouma and Pascal Gross transfer decisions that could define Brighton star’s future
Steven Alzate would benefit from regular football but that’s not easy to come by in the Premier League, says Graham Potter.
The 23-year-old has made just nine Premier League appearances this season and only five of them have started. The Albion midfielder made the starting XI for the 2-1 win at Burnley on the opening day of the 2021/22 season but has had to wait almost six weeks and five games for his next outing with the Seagulls.
Just 20 minutes after being introduced to the game, he suffered a nasty ankle injury, which would rule him out of action until Boxing Day – a period of three months. After two short displays, the Colombia international got a rare start against Chelsea in mid-January and he didn’t disappoint.
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According to Albion Analytics (AA), the Colombian international outstripped his team-mates in ball recoveries (11) and passing and dribbling in the final third (11). He also had five interceptions, won two fouls, made three clearances and had 87% passing accuracy in the 1-1 draw. He impressed again in a 62-minute performance against Leicester City in a 1-1 stalemate a few days later, making six interceptions, five ball recoveries and five successful pressures.
But when Bissouma returned after representing Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations, Alzate was back on the bench, missing the game against Tottenham in the FA Cup and the Premier League trip to Watford. A 30-minute stint against Manchester United was followed by not playing Burnley or Aston Villa.
After being hailed as Brighton’s best player by Potter in March’s defeat to Newcastle United, he couldn’t build on that in the next home game against Liverpool on March 12 and he didn’t. played since. While illness has kept him out of the last two games, Moises Caicedo’s surge and Enock Mwepu’s return from a hamstring injury may mean Alzate is even lower in the league. pecking order of the midfielder.
He may not get much more playing time this season, but this summer could be key for him and his teammates. Bissouma should leave and it is not yet known if he will replace him. And Pascal Gross is also at the end of his contract, although Potter wants him to extend his stay a little longer. If they leave, Alzate can get back into the fold in a bigger way, but he needs to improve his consistency from game to game no matter what.
When asked what he needed to do to get back into the first team, Potter said Sussex Live: “Steven was a bit unlucky, he was sick so he missed a bit of time here and there. Moises [Caicedo] arrived and did very well, Enock [Mwepu] had a very positive game against Arsenal so Steven’s challenge is to keep going.
“He’s at a stage in his career where he would benefit from regular football and it’s not that easy to get in the Premier League, but that’s the challenge for us and for him, to try to get that consistency of selection and playing time because that will probably help him well.”
Brighton have so much strength deep in midfield. If Alzate can get back into the mix, he could have a long career at Albion. If not, he may not stay at the club for too long.