Premier League • England

Brighton sell unused defender Leo Ostigard to Champions League club, as director says development system thriving

Leo Ostigard celebrating with Genoa

Brighton & Hove Albion have sold Leo Ostigard to Napoli in a move that the defender describes as a “dream” come true.

Ostigard was a Brighton player between 2018 and 2022. However, he never made a senior appearance for the club. Instead, he spent time with their under-23 team during the 2018-19 season, before embarking on a series of loan spells.

He spent a season each with St Pauli in Germany and Coventry City in the Championship. Last season, he spent the first half of the campaign with Stoke City and the second in Serie A with Genoa.

While in Italy, he caught the attention of Napoli. The Azzurri have now added him to their squad on a permanent basis for an undisclosed fee.

Ostigard played 15 times in the 2021-22 Serie A for Genoa, who were relegated by the end of the campaign. Now, though, their former loanee is stepping up to a club with Champions League football on offer.

Hence, the 22-year-old is enthusiastic about the challenge ahead.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Napoli,” Ostigard said at a press conference.

“This is a strong team and a prestigious club. It’s a dream for me to be playing here.

“When I came to face Napoli as an opposition player, I was impressed by the stadium, the fans and the city. Now I’m delighted to be playing for this club.”

Ostigard, who has spent his entire career so far as a centre-back, could share some big responsibilities for a Napoli side who have sold the iconic Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea.

He is willing to put himself at Luciano Spalletti’s disposal to make an impact at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“I can play on the left and the right. It’s down to the coach to decide,” Ostigard stated.

Brighton explain benefits of Leo Ostigard deal

Meanwhile, Brighton will continue to rely on the likes of Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster at centre-back.

Selling Ostigard without him ever making an appearance for the club is good business. According to technical director David Weir, the Norway international deserves his move, which represents how well Brighton’s development systems are working.

“Leo’s had really successful loan spells in Germany, Italy and here in the UK in the Championship with Coventry City and Stoke City, so it was no surprise he attracted such interest from a top Italian club like Napoli,” Weir told Brighton’s official website.

“He is also keen to play regular senior football and establish himself as a permanent player. That was not something we were able to guarantee for Leo, so the transfer is good for both clubs and the player.

“It’s testament to the club’s academy, development programme and loan system, and equally to Leo. He has worked very hard and been an absolute professional in his approach and attitude.

“This transfer is a direct result of that dedication and professionalism on the training pitch, day to day and in matches. On behalf of the club I would like to wish him well in his future career and for the season ahead.”

Ostigard has signed a contract until 2026 with Napoli.

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