Facundo Buonanotte looks set to be Brighton’s next South American superstar
Brighton have made a habit of bringing in South American wonderkids under the radar in the January transfer window who then become some the most coveted players in Europe within a couple of years.
In 2020, it was Alexis Mac Allister from Argentinos Juniors for £7m. In 2021, Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle for £5m. And in 2023, it is Argentine number ten Facundo Buonanotte who arrives at the Amex for £10m from Rosario Central, the biggest outlay the Seagulls have spent on a player from a continent they have become the experts at mining.
We say arrive, because the deal bringing Buonanotte to England was actually announced in November following the completion of the 2022 domestic season in Argentina. This explains why Buonanotte has gone almost unnoticed in the context of a January signing. And at 18 years old, most Brighton fans assumed he would remain unknown for some time yet, following the Seagulls’ tried and tested path of slow integration for young players from South America.
Mac Allister had to wait a year between becoming an Albion player and his Premier League debut. For Caicedo, it was 18 months.
When it came to Buonanotte, however, Roberto De Zerbi had other ideas.
The teenager was thrown on as as a second half sub against Bournemouth with the game locked at 0-0 and Brighton desperately chasing a goal, just one week after he first showed up at the Amex. De Zerbi clearly has a huge amount of faith in Buonanotte and his talents. The decision paid off as a Kaoru Mitoma goal in the 87th minute gave the Albion a 1-0 win.
With Buonanotte seemingly for the here and now rather than the future, do not be surprised if by the summer of 2025 he becomes the next Brighton player the big six end up fighting over. Already, he has been fast tracked into the Argentina Under-20s squad and been compared to Lionel Messi by no lesser judge than Carlos Tevez, his manager at Rosario Central.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs, Juventus, Inter, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund were all said to be interested before the Albion made their move.
Most of those clubs – including Brighton – had Buoanotte on their radar even before he had made his senior debut for Rosario Central. That came in the Copa de la Liga Profesional in February 2022 when he was only 17. Buonanotte spent the next four months in and out of a struggling team who worked their way through two managers before the June appointment of Tevez, which is when his fledgling career really took off.
Tevez started with Buonanotte on the bench for his first two games at the helm. In his third, the former Manchester United and Manchester City forward promoted Buonanotte into the starting XI. Buonanotte responded with the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Club Atletico Sarmiento, giving Tevez his maiden victory as a manager.
From that point on, Buonanotte started every match he was fit and available for. His work rate and football intelligence were highlighted as crucial to the aggressive pressing style introduced by Tevez. He is versatile too, having been deployed as a number 8, wide on the right, wide on the left and in the number 10 role, which is arguably his best position.
And what of those comparisons to Argentina’s World Cup winning captain? Tevez’s public declaration of Buonanotte as the next Messi came after a mesmerising goal scoring display in a 3-1 victory over Barracas Central.
Speaking to Rosario3, Tevez said: “When he brakes and accelerates he reminds me of Messi. I haven’t seen a boy play like that for a long time, that gives me so much pleasure, and I watch a lot of football.”
“Facu has a great mentality, he doesn’t seem to be 17 years old. He is at a very high level, one thinks that he has no ceiling, it is wherever he wants to go,” Tevez added.
That high level returned a total of four goals and two assists for Rosario Central in 34 appearances; good numbers for a teenager in their first season in a top side, even more so when you consider he was playing in a team who finished 20th out of 28 in the Primera Division. He had almost become their talisman by the end.
In terms of attributes, Buonanotte’s strongest traits are dribbling with the ball, beating players and finding ways out of tight spaces – very Messi-like. He likes nothing more than drifting wide, cutting inside and shooting from outside the box. The form of Solly March and Mitoma under Roberto De Zerbi along with the fast-paced football and press deployed by Brighton’s charismatic Italian head coach makes Buonanotte appear perfectly suited to to what will be expected of him at the Albion.
And just like how the Seagulls have perfectly utilised the talents of Mac Allister, Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan, Jeremy Sarmiento and to a lesser extent Julio Enciso, that will spell trouble for the rest of the Premier League. Buonanotte is here and all the signs point to another South American superstar about to burst into the scene at the Amex. Watch this space.
Europa League final 2023 tickets: Prices for Budapest decider & where to buy
Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!
Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
Supercomputer predicts WSL title race after Man City’s victory over Chelsea
Tottenham handed double blow in pursuit of new manager
Erik ten Hag hails Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy after Premier League Hall of Fame induction
Best site to watch football live (Free and premium)
Best app to buy sports tickets 2022
10 Footballers who went to university during their careers
EPL1 week ago
Graham Potter provides N’Golo Kante injury return plan
EPL1 week ago
Sir Jim Ratcliffe won’t pay ‘stupid’ price to buy Man Utd
Football1 week ago
De Jong responds to new Man United transfer link after El Clasico win
EPL1 week ago
Chelsea star pays visit to Barcalona’s locker room after El Clasico win
EPL1 week ago
Aleksandar Mitrovic facing extended ban over referee push (Details)