All you need to know about Brighton’s new £20m striker Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay almost joined Brighton two seasons ago (Getty)
Neal Maupay almost joined Brighton two seasons ago (Getty)

Neal Maupay’s first season with the Albion will be the eighth of his senior career.

The Frenchman made his professional debut for Nice during the 2012/13 season, aged 16.

In 2015, he then went on to play in France’s Ligue 1 for Saint-Etienne when he was 18, scoring three goals in 23 appearances during his first season with them.

He spent the following season on loan to Brest, before moving to England to join Championship team Brentford.

During his two years with Brentford, he scored 41 goals in 95 games and finished last season as the Championship joint-second top scorer, with 25 goals.

He also became known as the “super-sub” in his first season with Brentford, scoring four of his five goals in the first five months of the season as a substitute, and went on to take up the role of Brentford’s first striker after the departure of Lasse Vibe from the club.

Albion boss Graham Potter is familiar with the 22-year-old, having come up against him as Swansea manager in the Championship three times last season, and Maupay says it was Potter’s philosophy which attracted him to joining the club for the upcoming season.

“The head coach’s plans were the main factor in me deciding to join Brighton” he said.

One of Maupay’s key strengths is holding onto the ball, and Potter told him that he wanted him to bring “that type of football” to the club.

His success in the Championship last season led to him being voted both the Brentford Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Year, and winning the 2019 EFL Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.

Now, Versailles-born Maupay is excited to transfer his Championship success to what he calls “the best league in the world” that has been a “dream” of his to play in.

After his signing to the Albion was announced, he tweeted that he is “delighted and ready to go” and will be “counting down the minutes to pull on a Seagulls Shirt and give everything”.

He calls himself a “goalscorer that wants to score goals” and is eager to learn from strikers who already have experience playing in the Premier League like new teammate Glenn Murray, who Maupay wants to learn from by working with him “on and off the pitch.”

Seagulls’ head coach Potter believes that the French striker will “add an extra dimension” to the club’s existing forward options.

Maupay, of French and Argentinian descent, has also had success at an international level, winning 35 caps from the under-16 to under-21 levels and scoring 16 goals for France in that time.

He thinks that England is the “country of football” and will try to draw on his experiences playing in France’s first division when he makes his Premier League debut with the Seagulls this season.