Leeds, Tottenham trumped by surprise Prem rival as record signing close

Gonzalo Castro, Nicolas Gonzalez. Stuttgart TEAMtalk

Brighton appear to have beaten Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur to the signing of Nicolas Gonzalez after agreeing a fee for the Stuttgart winger.

Argentine forward Gonzalez has been with Stuttgart since 2018. In that time, he has scored 23 goals from 79 appearances. Even though he remains under contract until 2024, it seems a move to the Premier League now beckons. But the specific destination comes as something of a surprise.

Back in March, he was mentioned as a potential successor to Gareth Bale for Tottenham. Bale is only on loan from Real Madrid and has hinted he intends to see out his contract in Spain next season.

Gonzalez could fill the void that the winger will leave, with reports earlier this week suggesting that they were ready to make an offer.

They were rivalling Fiorentina for his signature, while Leeds were also potential suitors.

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But instead, all those clubs look to have missed out to Brighton. According to The Guardian, the Seagulls have agreed a club-record fee with Stuttgart to sign the 23-year-old. The transfer will cost around £25m up front, plus bonuses.

Fiorentina have also had a bid accepted, but Gonzalez would prefer to move to the Premier League than Serie A. Therefore, Brighton are ready to win the battle.

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If it goes through, the transfer will break Brighton’s record. Stuttgart will make a hefty profit on the player, who they brought to Europe for £7.65m.

It will be a successful end of a long-term pursuit for Brighton, who originally tried to sign Gonzalez last summer. After scoring six goals in 15 appearances for them in the season that followed, Brighton have been encouraged to finally wrap up the deal.

Now, they are closing in on doing so. Gonzalez is currently representing Argentina at the Copa America, so will likely have to complete the move after that competition concludes.

Brighton battle to keep best players

Then, Brighton’s attention will turn to keeping hold of some of their better current players.

The report from The Guardian reminds that Ben White and Yves Bissouma are both attracting interest from elsewhere.

White, currently on England duty at Euro 2020, impressed in his first season in the Premier League after numerous loan spells away. As such, he is now on the radar of both Man Utd and Arsenal.

Arsenal are also interested in Bissouma, who has established himself in the Brighton midfield. The Mali international looks capable of making the step up to a higher level and could be in demand.

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