'The world is a huge place': FFT gets the inside track on Brighton's scouting network

Brighton's Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi celebrates at the end of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on September 2, 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Brighton have brought in talent from around the globe in recent years – and they have a highly efficient scouting network to thank.

The likes of Kaoru Mitoma and Moises Caidedo have joined the Seagulls from relative obscurity in Japan and Ecuador respectively – and gone on to become major stars, with the latter generating a £100m transfer fee from Chelsea last month.

And, as Brighton technical director David Weir tells FourFourTwo, the club's success in that regard is no fluke – although they haven't got scouts dotted here, there and everywhere as you might expect...

Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton and Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Hove Albion at Molineux on August 19, 2023 in Wolverhampton, England.

Brighton signed Kaoru Mitoma from Kawasaki Frontale in 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images)

"The world is a huge place; people think we've got a massive resource and people on the ground all over the planet," Weir explains, "but that's not necessarily the case.

"We have a small, efficient department and the club, in general, know what types of player we like: youngsters who can become what we want them to be.

"It's definitely a strength to have a way of working and a streamlining tool that enables you to fish in a smaller pond, but it [chairman Tony Bloom's secret recruitment algorithm] allows us to act early, get on the ground and get things moving quickly."

What's your CRAZIEST prediction for this season?

Brighton's highly successful approach to transfers and consistently rebuilding their squad has seen them go from strength to strength in recent years.

Under Roberto De Zerbi, the Seagulls achieved their highest ever finish of sixth in the Premier LEague last season – and they've started the new campaign in fine nick, too, winning three of their opening four games and scoring a league-high 12 goals so far.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...

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