Brighton & Hove Albion are lining up a cheeky move for RCD Espanyol striker Leo Baptistao. TalkSPORT claims that both Brighton and Southampton are tracking the 25-year-old forward who has already scored three goals this season. AS Roma are also reportedly interested in the Brazilian and might make a move in January.
According to Italian news outlet Calciomercato, the Seagulls’ boss Chris Hughton and the Saints’ manager Mauricio Pellegrino are both looking to secure the services of the South American striker when the winter transfer window opens in January. The two clubs also reckon that the player would be willing to make a move to the Premier League. The report also states that the Brazilain forward is currently under contract with Espanyol until 2021, with a release clause worth €27m inserted in his deal. The speculation has grown over the past few weeks with Italian club Genoa keen on the player’s signature. However, it is understood that Baptistao would prefer to join AS Roma if he left Spain for a move to Italy.
Leo Baptistao signed for RCD Espanyol from Athletico Marid in the summer of 2016 on a five-year deal worth €3.5m. Since then, the Brazilian has gone on to make 34 appearances for the Barcelona club and has 9 goals and 9 assists to his name. The forward has made a total of 133 La Liga appearances throughout his career and has scored 27 goals and made 20 assists in one of the best leagues in the world.
The Seagulls have scored 13 goals in 14 Premier League matches but have still managed to find themselves in 10th place on the league table due to their solid defence.
Chris Hughton can do with a fresh January arrival who can freshen up the Brighton attack. Although not the most prolific striker, Leo Baptistao would be a gamble but a gamble worth taking if the price is right. He has proven himself in La Liga and has gathered a lot of first-team experience. His talents will definitely help the Seagulls in their fight to finish in the top half of the Premier League table.
Baptistao has lived in Spain since 2008 and has acquired a European passport. So the 25-year-old will have no problems with regards to getting a work permit if he decided to move to England. But his expensive price-tag might be a big stumbling block for the Seagulls. It remains to be seen whether Chris Hughton’s Brighton can fend off interest from their competition and secure the talented South American in January.