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Brighton are the Premier League’s best-run club

The headline of Brighton’s 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday concerned the impact it had on Arsenal and their dwindling Premier League title hopes, but the continued rise of the Seagulls is a sub-plot that has underpinned the entire 2022/23 season. Indeed, Brighton have become a genuine force.

With four matches of the campaign left to play, Roberto De Zerbi’s team are still firmly in contention for European qualification. They might have given themselves too much to do to secure a top four place, but it’s entirely possible Brighton will be a fixture in the Europa League next season.

This would highlight the progress made at the Amex Stadium in recent times. It wasn’t so long ago that Brighton were playing in the Championship. Going further back, the club itself was at risk of vanishing amid financial issues with the dilapidated surroundings of Withdean Stadium reflective of the state Brighton found themselves in.

A lot has changed since then. At this moment in time, Brighton are the best-run club in the Premier League. That have established the model for smaller clubs looking to make an impression at the top level. Elite level clubs are also closely examining how Brighton continue to make the right decisions over and over again.

Many believed Graham Potter’s departure to Chelsea would signify the end of a cycle for the Seagulls. Over three seasons, the 47-year-old took a team battling against relegation and turned them into a modern outfit pushing into the top half of the Premier League table. It was reasonable to assume Potter’s exit would have an impact.

If anything, though, Brighton have improved further under De Zerbi. The Italian coach has certainly unleashed the attacking potential of the team he inherited from Potter with Brighton now boasting one of the strongest frontlines in the whole division (66 goals in 34 games). That attacking threat was on full display against Arsenal.

Brighton’s performance in North London also showcased how De Zerbi is already starting to evolve his team. The Italian concedes key players will likely leave the club this summer and recognises how it is a key part of Brighton’s model to offer prospective signings a springboard to even bigger things.

“Of course, we will lose some players – maybe Caicedo, maybe Mac Allister,” he said after the 3-0 win over Arsenal. “We have to be ready to bring in another good players. The others, for Mitoma and Estupinan, I think for them the best solution is to stay with us. I don’t know if they are ready to play in the big teams, you can explain better than me to ‘play in a big team.’ We can offer them the possibility to progress and improve.”

Billy Gilmour has been integrated into De Zerbi’s team recently with Julio Enciso now making an impact after joining Brighton last summer. Then there’s talented teenage attacker Facundo Buonanotte who joined from Rosario Central in January. It’s already possible to see the Seagulls’ future.

Of course, Brighton will find it difficult to maintain such a high hit rate in the transfer market over a prolonged period of time, but they have clearly put in place the structure and scouting network to continue recruiting at the highest level. South America in particular has proved to be a worthwhile pool to dip a hand into.

De Zerbi gives the impression of being someone comfortable with the restrictions Brighton place on a manager, but that is getting the best out of the Italian and the players at the club. Rather than being the culmination of something, this season could prove to be the start of even greater success.

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