Brighton’s chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber has confirmed the club are in no hurry to cash in on Evan Ferguson, though admits selling the striker will likely be ‘part of the overall plan’ in the future.
Ferguson, 19, has established himself as one of the most promising young attackers in Premier League football since breaking into Brighton’s first-team in 2021, racking up 16 goals in 50 appearances for the Seagulls.
The teenager’s performances have seen him tipped for superstardom and have caught the attention of some of England’s elite clubs, with Chelsea understood to be long-term admirers as they scour the market for a centre-forward.
However, Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn into the speculation linking Chelsea with Ferguson following the side’s victory over Fulham, insisting the Blues are far from desperate to sign a striker before the January transfer deadline.
And it appears the west London giants will be forced to pursue other targets for the time being, with Brighton ready to knock back any advances for their prized possession at such a pivotal stage of the season.
It’s believed Brighton have slapped a £100million price tag on the Republic of Ireland international, who has scored three goals in 10 games for his country.
‘Someone like Evan, who is an incredible talent, he’s still got a way to go to learn his trade,’ Brighton CEO Barber told talkSPORT.
‘Letting him go at some point in the future is going to be I’m sure part of the overall plan, both from our side and Evan’s side.
‘But in the short-term we want to try and make sure we develop him the best we can.’
Ferguson, who joined Brighton from Bohemians back in 2021, put pen to paper on a six-year contract at the Amex Stadium last year which ties him to the club until 2029.
Chelsea have been linked with the likes of Ivan Toney, Victor Osimhen and Karim Benzema, as well as Ferguson, in recent weeks.
Discussing Chelsea’s targets for Betfred, Glen Johnson urged his former club to pursue a move for Benzema rather than a ‘bonkers’ £100m deal for Ferguson.
‘This Chelsea side at the minute needs an experienced striker. 100 per cent. They need a big name that’s going to make their opponents fearful,’ the ex-England right-back Johnson said.
‘Regarding Evan Ferguson, don’t get me wrong he may eventually become the next big thing and I hope he does, but Chelsea can’t be spending £100 million on a 19-year-old.
They’ve spent a fortune on youngsters already and they don’t have two or three years to wait.
‘What are the chances that a 19-year-old is going to have the character and knowledge to be the main man for Chelsea? It’s highly, highly unlikely.
‘In two or three years he may be at the level to achieve that, but not right now because he’s not fully proven yet. £100 million for Evan sounds bonkers to me.’
Asked whether Chelsea should looked to sign Benzema, Johnson replied: ‘100 per cent. Absolutely.
‘He’s the type of big-name striker you need because he’s won almost everything in the game.
‘He’s a goal machine, so you’d expect him to adapt easily to the Premier League.
‘If a loan deal is the only option, then Chelsea have to try and sign him.’
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