Brighton Opinion: Sander Berge could be a massive coup for the Seagulls
According to Sky Sports, Brighton and Hove Albion could be set for yet another raid on Belgian heavyweights Genk, with the report claiming that the Seagulls have made an enquiry for Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge.
Brighton have already made the headlines this summer with the £15million signing of Genk captain Leandro Trossard and it seems now that the south coast club are ready to flex their muscles once again for yet another burgeoning talent in the Belgian top-flight, with 21-year-old defensive midfielder Berge on their radar.
Sky Sports understands that Brighton haven’t made any official bid just yet but a move might as well materialize, with the report claiming that the talented youngster wants to complete a move to a bigger club this summer.
Born in Asker, Norway, Berge started his career in the Norwegian third-tier with local club Asker before earning a move to the top-flight with heavyweights Valerenga.
He immediately established himself as a key player at the club and carved out a big reputation for himself as one of the brightest emerging prospects in Scandinavia.
Berge’s soaring stocks earned him a move to Belgian giants Genk in January 2017 and he hasn’t looked back since then. The 21-year-old has not only earned plenty of plaudits for his consistently impressive performances in the Belgian top-flight but he has also proven his credentials in the Europa League.
The defensive midfielder, who has been capped on 14 occasions by Norway at the senior international level, was one of the cornerstones of Genk’s surge to the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 Europa League, where he made a massive impact following his arrival at the club midway through the campaign.
Berge reminded the fans of his talent and potential once again in the Europa League last season, as the Norwegian international registered 2 goals and an assist in 5 appearances to guide Genk through to the last-32 stage.
As a matter of fact, he racked up impressive numbers in that competition, boasting of a pass success rate of 86.1%, including 2.2 aerial duels, 1.6 tackles, 1.6 interceptions 1.2 key passes and 6.2 successful long balls per game.
A technically-gifted defensive midfielder with an intricate first touch, an excellent range of passing and an innate ability to create space with his impressive dribbling skills, Berge is not only adept at dictating the play with his calmness and composure but he also has the creativity and the vision to thread key passes to the forwards.
In fact, he also has the energy, stamina and the game-reading ability to win possession back for his team in the midfield, switch the play with his impeccable ball-distribution and initiate the build-up, thus improving the cohesion between the midfield and the forward line.
To put things into perspective, Sander Berge is certainly a top-quality talent with loads of potential and Brighton would undoubtedly bag a massive coup if they manage to get a deal for him over the line.
Brighton haven’t had much luck with their big-money signings in recent times under former manager Chris Hughton but things might as well change for the good now that Graham Potter has taken over.
The Seagulls are not in desperate need of bringing in central midfielders at the moment, with the likes of Pascal Gross, Davy Propper, Dale Stephens, Beram Kayal and Yves Bissouma currently in the ranks at the Amex Stadium.
However, Berge is a fine talent and he might as well prove to be a massive upgrade on a few of the aforementioned names.
Still only 21, Berge is very much in his formative years and the chance to work under Potter should appeal to him given the manager’s previous heroics with young players at Swedish side Ostersunds FK.
The Norwegian is only going to get better with time and Brighton might have a gem on their hands if he goes on to fulfil his promise on the English south coast, although he is currently good enough to play for any mid-table club in the Premier League.
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That said, bringing in a new central midfielder is unlikely to be a top priority for the Seagulls this summer, but if Potter has done his homework on the 21-year-old and feels he could play a substantial role in the future, the club should back the new manager with the financial resources.