Brighton and Hove Albion are as confident as possible when the transfer window opens with World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister still their player at the end of January.
Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are said to be interested in the Argentinian midfielder, who will fly back to England on Monday.
He could take part in Tuesday night’s trip to Everton if head coach Roberto De Zerbi decides he is ready.
There has been much speculation about the 24-year-old’s future during the break given to him by Brighton to enjoy celebrations in Buenos Aires and return home to Santa Rosa following Argentina’s victory in Qatar.
Mac Allister got two weeks off. He should not be back until preparing for the FA Cup third round tie to Middlesbrough on Saturday, but he will be back sooner, so is his eagerness to continue playing against Brighton and to catch up with his teammates.
Brighton will be happy to have him back. He was greatly missed, along with suspended partner midfielder Moises Caicedo, in the 4-2 home loss to Arsenal on Saturday night.
The club is not surprised by the size of the reported concern over Mac Allister, but they are skeptical about the reliability of those reports and the possibility that many of them are being manipulated by jumping agents. into a group.
They are used to the ‘noise’ surrounding their star names – Caicedo, Leandro Trossard, Robert Sanchez and now Mac Allister after his feats on the biggest international stage.
They don’t take any issues seriously until they get in direct contact from a club. At the time of writing, there is no such contact involving Mac Allister or anyone else.
It is believed that there is no release clause in the new contract skillfully negotiated by the club with Mac Allister and his representatives four weeks before the World Cup, which runs until June 2025 with options. chose a one-year extension to Brighton.
Effectively putting prices on top of players is not how they usually conduct their business.
Argentina’s success in Qatar and Mac Allister’s pivotal role in it have elevated his value to new heights. Even if one club or more clubs come forward, it will require an attractive offer – more than he will attract in the summer – for Brighton to even think about losing him. He was midway through a promising season for De Zerbi’s side, with little time to sign a suitable replacement.
Brighton’s reputation for hardball was firmly established when Manchester City made what chairman and chairman Tony Bloom and his executive team deemed an insulting £30m offer to Marc. Cucurella in the summer.
The Spanish defender has been sold to Chelsea for a fee that could reach more than £60 million.
What is the premium for a World Cup winner? It’s hard to quantify. There is no specific formula, but Brighton is considering many factors.
Cucurella did not make it to Spain’s World Cup squad. Mac Allister is not only a World Cup champion, he played a key role after Lionel Scaloni knocked him out of the shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in Argentina’s opening game.
He started the remaining six games on the road to Argentina’s glory. He scored his country’s first goal in a group stage win over Poland, which secured a place in the round of 16 and produced an impressive series of performances, highlighted by the way he He often associates his play with Lionel Messi.
His contribution culminated in the final against France with an assist for Argentina’s memorable second goal, scored by Angel Di Maria, and an all-round stellar performance. . Only six members of Scaloni’s team in Qatar have played more than Mac Allister, who has accumulated 550 minutes.
Another factor to gauge his value to potential suitors is his versatile range. Scaloni used him for Argentina in a more advanced midfield position, often drifting in from the left to combine with Messi.
Since making his first of 86 appearances, including 13 goals, for Brighton in March 2020, he has played in a variety of midfield positions.
Both under Graham Potter and now De Zerbi this season, Mac Allister has made a classy couple in the center of the park with Ecuadorian Caicedo.
In that sense, Arsenal were lucky to face Brighton as they were both absent for their fifth card of the season and accompanied by a one-match ban for Caicedo in the closing stages of the game against Southampton on Saturday. Gift day.
Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour, on their all-league debut for the club, went to great lengths to cover the hole. They don’t possess the same chemistry or combination of smooth passing, tempo and physicality as the South American pair, although De Zerbi can understand their absence.
“It wouldn’t be right if I talked about (missing) Mac Allister and Caicedo,” he said. “Everyone knows their quality, but Gilmour played a great game and so did Pascal.”
Mac Allister’s humility, long association with Brighton and his deep appreciation for the way the club have developed are other factors that set him apart from the circumstances surrounding the sale. Cucurella, who was quickly attracted by interest elsewhere after one season.
Knowing his personality traits, Brighton did not anticipate that Mac Allister would be agitated to move.
All of the club’s major purchases are made during the summer transfer windows when there is more time to plan – Cucurella, Yves Bissouma to Tottenham, Ben White to Arsenal.
They cannot say never, but there is every chance that they, his teammates and supporters will be able to enjoy the technical gifts of their World Cup winner for at least the second part. remainder of the season.
(Above: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)