Brighton’s Evan Ferguson issues loan hint amid Birmingham City, Sheffield Utd & Preston links

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Evan Ferguson has hinted at a loan transfer - as Birmingham City, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Preston North End circle.
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Birmingham City have been handed a boost in the pursuit of Brighton & Hove Albion striker Evan Ferguson. The 18-year-old striker has hinted at a loan move in January amid reported interest from Blues and fellow Sky Bet Championship sides Sheffield United, Preston North End and Middlesbrough.

The Irishman, who once made headlines for starting a pre-season friendly for Bohemians against Chelsea aged just 14, has been training with Brighton’s senior squad throughout the 2022/23 campaign. He has often featured for the Under 23 side this term but has also experienced Carabao Cup action alongside the likes of Deniz Undav and Julio Enciso.

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Soon after playing his first two senior Republic of Ireland matches against Norway and Malta, Ferguson spoke at a ‘Football For All’ event and revealed his short-term ambitions. “I think it [a loan] would benefit anyone, it’s just whether the timing is right,” Ferguson told the Irish Independent.

After scoring a goal and notching an assist on his senior debut for the Seagulls against Forest Green Rovers, and having netted five goals in six Premier League 2 games, Ferguson was handed his first-ever senior deal. “He [De Zerbi] has given me the contract, so I feel like it’s a reward. It’s nice,” Ferguson continued.

“Maybe he’s talking about going on loan, playing regular games, and getting minutes. Most of the senior lads are playing week in, week out. I’ll have to chat with the club and see what they want to do. That’s what loans are there for, to go out and get experience. If it’s the right thing for me at this moment, then we’ll have a look at it.”

Although it may sound like it, this season isn’t actually Ferguson’s breakout one. The Bettystown-born youngster was even given some Premier League minutes last campaign under Graham Potter, coming off the bench in a home defeat to Burnley in February 2022. He also featured twice in the FA Cup and once in the Carabao Cup. Including his sole appearance this term, he has played five senior games for Albion.

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As Ferguson himself alludes to, though, he is hoping to perhaps play senior football more consistently. If he were to head to Birmingham, he would be competing with the likes of equal Championship top scorer Scott Hogan and experienced target man Troy Deeney for a spot. The young Seagull’s pace and energy would add depth to John Eustace’s side and perhaps offer another tactical dimension.

Evan Ferguson featured for Brighton in the FA Cup third round tie against West Brom at the Hawthorns last season.Evan Ferguson featured for Brighton in the FA Cup third round tie against West Brom at the Hawthorns last season.
Evan Ferguson featured for Brighton in the FA Cup third round tie against West Brom at the Hawthorns last season.

If he were to head even further north to the Blades, meanwhile, Ferguson may struggle a little more for a place. Oli McBurnie has rediscovered his goalscoring form in years gone by, whereas Rhian Brewster and Daniel Jebbison already offer something similar. Billy Sharp is also an option given his wealth of experience.

The other club linked with a move, Middlesbrough, are under new management with former Manchester United and England midfielder Michael Carrick recently appointed. As is often the case with a new head coach, Carrick is likely to dip into the transfer market and Ferguson would provide backup to eight-goal forward Chuba Akpom.

For now, this is very much a one to watch as to where he may end up - but Ferguson looks increasingly likely to head at least somewhere on loan this January.

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