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26th Feb 2024

Brighton boss questions Evan Ferguson’s ‘physical and mental condition’ as Arsenal show interest

Patrick McCarry

“He can play better.”

Evan Ferguson’s first three months of the 2022/23 season saw him find the net seven times, for club and country, but the goals and starts have dried up.

The 19-year-old drew praise from the likes of Alan Shearer, Roy Keane and Gary Lineker after a flying start to the Premier League season, which saw him score six times in eight league starts (12 appearances in total). The highlight of his season must be his hat-trick that secured a 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

His last league goal was against Nottingham Forest, in November, and he is scoreless in 14 club games, since. The Ireland international has only started six of those games and has lacked that cutting edge of that early season purple patch. He was replaced by Adam Lallana for the final 15 minutes of Brighton’s weekend draw with Everton, and Seagulls boss Roberto De Zebri questioned his ‘physical and mental condition’.

“He is good but is not spending the best period of his time,” De Zebri told reporters. “We can help him and we can understand him because he is very young.

“He can play better. The team needs Evan, but Evan at 100% of his physical and mental condition. He played well but in small spaces, in the last 10 or 20 minutes, I thought Adam Lallana could be more important than Evan.”

Those comments come at a time strong Arsenal interest in the teenager has been reported, ahead of what could be a big summer transfer window for the player, and both clubs.

Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson on Arsenal list of summer targets

Arsenal are enjoying a goal-scoring glut in the Premier League since the turn of the year, spurring on their title challenge.

The Gunners are sharing the goals out – they have scored 81 times, so far, with only Bukayo Saka (16) and Leandro Trossard (10) in double figures. Securing a frontman remains a summer priority, though, and Football Insider is reporting an Arsenal club source saying there is “huge interest” in Evan Ferguson.

Despite his recent lean spell for Brighton, Ferguson will command a high transfer fee if he moves on, this summer. He signed a contract extension, earlier in the season, and is contracted with the club until 2029.

Other transfer targets for Mikel Arteta’s side are Ivan Toney and Napoli and Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen, although he is being courted by PSG as they brace for Kylian Mbappè to move on.

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