Brighton chief explains how he milked Chelsea for Marc Cucurella deal
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Brighton and Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber has spoken highly of Chelsea owner Todd Boehly by lifting the lid on their high-profile business dealings with the Blues over the last few months. Brighton sold Marc Cucurella to the west Londoners in the summer transfer window for what was widely considered to be an inflated fee in excess of £60million, just one year after the Spaniard joined the Seagulls for a modest sum of around £15m
Chelsea went on to raid Brighton again shortly afterwards for the services of Graham Potter, who was appointed to replace Thomas Tuchel in September after establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s finest emerging managerial talents. Barber has since insisted that he shares a positive working relationship with Boehly, who he maintains is a far tougher negotiator than many would believe given the large sums of money spent by Chelsea since the end of last season.
“Todd’s a very successful businessman and you don’t get to be a very successful businessman unless you are also a smart person,” Barber told CBS Sports. “He is certainly not a pushover in negotiations, far from it, and he’s a very professional individual.
“He’s got high integrity and we have enjoyed the dealings we’ve had with Todd. We wish him nothing but good fortune. It’s also not easy to come in from the other side of the world and buy a football club which is already successful and make it even more successful. That doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a lot of skill, patience and hard work as well as a bit of luck along the way.
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“Expectations on a club like Chelsea are always going to be high, so when their new owners have got such big ambitions, in many ways that just adds profile and pressure. Todd and his group have spent a lot of money in buying the club and in improving the squad. It does take a while for all of the things they are trying to bring together to have the effect they are hoping for.
“It’s a long-term project and football is not easy, there are no short-term fixes. Of course, you can you can make changes and amendments quickly, but the results they bring can sometimes take longer. So it still remains to be seen where Chelsea go, and good luck to them.”
Cucurella has endured a mixed start to life at Stamford Bridge since swapping Brighton for Chelsea last summer, with the 24-year-old among many Blues players to have consistently fallen below expectations since the start of the campaign. It can easily be argued that Brighton were the greatest beneficiaries of the deal, especially given the near-£50m profit they made from his sale and the impressive performances of Pervis Estupinan since he was drafted in to replace Cucurella at left-back following the latter’s departure.
Jamie Carragher recently took aim at Cucurella’s sub-par showings after Chelsea were comfortably beaten by Manchester City in the Premier League last week, with the Liverpool icon telling Sky Sports: “I wasn’t happy with Cucurella right throughout that second half until he came off.
“When we talk about the price tag, he can’t defend. And when you say someone can’t defend, I think if someone doesn’t want to defend, it’s probably worse. It looked to me like he didn’t want to defend. When I see defenders diving in all the time, it makes me think they don’t want to defend.”
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