Liverpool captured the signature of a certain Alexis Mac Allister earlier this summer. The Argentinian maestro was Jürgen Klopp's first signing of the window, arriving as a player with real quality who is almost certain to transform his aging and tired midfield department next term.
The World Cup winner is still just 24 years old and ahead of his prime years of performance, he's made the switch to Anfield, with Liverpool surely set to benefit in the coming years. Mac Allister has joined the Reds from Brighton and Hove Albion, who initially recognized his potential as a young starlet before bringing him to Europe from his homeland.
The South American was acquired from Argentinos Juniors in 2019 before the Seagulls allowed him to remain in Argentina by loaning him to Boca Juniors. Over time, Mac Allister has evolved from a player with potential to a proven star in England who now seems destined to deliver on the global stage, and it was Brighton who initially spotted him.
Indeed, the south coast club has a reputation for identifying hidden gems in the market. Brighton is willing to explore faraway competitions as a means of getting ahead in the transfer market, with owner Tony Bloom renowned for his success in the gambling world.
The Seagulls place calculated bets in the world of football. The gambles don't always pay but when they do, Brighton benefits from real quality on the pitch in the Premier League before those players are often sold for huge transfer fees, with Mac Allister painting himself as a perfect example.
Over the years, Brighton has signed a countless number of rough diamonds such as Moisés Caicedo, Kaoru Mitoma and Julio Enciso, while also developing the likes of Ben White, Marc Cucurella, Pervis Estupiñán and Leandro Trossard to name but a few. Bloom has transformed his boyhood club over the past decade, with the Seagulls now regarded among the smartest institutions on the continent.
Earlier this summer, Brighton made a bold transfer move for Levi Colwill (as per the Guardian). A true wonderkid in the making who is contracted to Chelsea at present, Colwill spent last year on loan at the AMEX Stadium, and he prospered under Roberto De Zerbi's tutelage, hence Brighton's desire to make his loan permanent ahead of the new campaign.
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The Blues understandably rejected the offer, with the young Englishman set to spend next year at Stamford Bridge despite speculation surrounding a transfer this summer. Liverpool is one of the clubs alongside Brighton with concrete interest in Colwill's services, but it seems Klopp will now have to look elsewhere to tackle the left-footed center-back void in his squad.
Brighton has been looking elsewhere since its bid for the homegrown star was rejected earlier in the window, and it looks as though an alternative has finally been sourced in the form of Igor Julio, with the Seagulls confirming the signing of the Brazilian from Fiorentina on Wednesday.
Now aged 25, Igor has a fair amount of experience behind him and crucially, he's left-footed, like Colwill. A premium is often demanded for central defenders who are left-footed as those players are simply harder to find at the highest level of the sport, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konaté and Joël Matip all favoring their right boot at Anfield.
Pep Guardiola has Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Aké at Manchester City, for example, and Mikel Arteta has Gabriel Magalhães and Jakub Kiwior at Arsenal. Erik ten Hag has Lisandro Martínez at Manchester United after bringing him from Ajax last year, Newcastle United has Sven Botman, and Aston Villa landed Pau Torres from Villarreal earlier this month, who is another left-footer.
Colwill was earmarked as a potential answer for Liverpool (as per the ECHO), and he was earmarked by Brighton too, which suggests that Klopp and his recruitment team are doing something right. However, as the Reds continue to search the market for a capable alternative, the transfer masters at Brighton have already decided on Igor.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will sign a left-footed defender this summer but if not, it could be worth tracking Igor's development over the course of the next year. If the South American manages to thrive at the AMEX, he could follow in the footsteps of Mac Allister before too long.