The Spanish right-back returns to his homeland, and indeed the Andalucian outfit with whom he had a loan spell in 2016, following two years at the Amex Stadium in which he made 56 appearances for the Seagulls.
While Montoya had lost his place in the side towards the end of last season, he still made 23 league starts in 2019/20, so it isn’t as if Brighton have offloaded a forgotten, wage-draining outcast. Also, his departure now leaves Tariq Lamptey as the only natural right-back in Graham Potter’s squad.
The ex-Chelsea youngster seized his chance when it came to him in the closing weeks of the 2019/20 campaign, starting seven of their final eight league matches and coming on as a substitute in the other (as per TransferMarkt). His performances in that run drew glowing praise, while the club’s willingness to part with Montoya is a tremendous show of faith in the 19-year-old.
However, Lamptey is only an injury or a dip in form away from leaving Potter with a head-scratching dilemma as to who is next in the right-back queue, unless he brings in a new signing for that position.
The Brazilian has chiefly played on that flank during his time in Sussex but has plenty of experience at right-back over the course of his career, so Potter could deploy him in that role more frequently if the need arises.
Ideally, Brighton will go into the market for a genuine right-back replacement for Montoya rather than needing to shunt square pegs into round holes or relying so heavily on Lamptey to stay fit and in form.
If Potter is unable to add to his options on that flank, though, Bernardo could find himself more involved in the coming season after being a somewhat peripheral figure for most of 2019/20.
Brighton fans, who would you like to come in at right-back instead of Montoya? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!
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