Brighton are among several clubs showing an interest in Cuban goalkeeper Christian Joel Sanchez Leal, according to reports from Spanish media.
Grada 3 claimed [via Sport Witness] that the Seagulls have eyes on the Sporting Gijon stopper, but they face some intense competition for his signature as both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, along with Villarreal and Brentford, have been credited with interest.
Indeed, the report states that Atletico had already seen an €800,000 (£727,452) offer rejected by the Segunda Division outfit, with the 21-year-old having a release clause of €6m (£5.46m) in his contract.
Christian Joel, the nomenclature adopted on Sporting Gijon’s official website, has so far made just two senior appearances for the club but kept a clean sheet on his debut in a 1-0 win over Cadiz, who were promoted to La Liga this year, in June 2019.
In 34 career appearances so far between youth and first team level, he has conceded 39 goals (1.15 per game) and racked up nine clean sheets (26.47% of games). [via TransferMarkt]
While Mat Ryan is the undisputed first choice goalkeeper at Brighton, playing every minute of their 2019/20 Premier League campaign, there is plenty of competition for the role of backup to the Australian. Christian Walton, Jason Steele and Robert Sanchez are all in the first team squad, although the former faces several weeks on the sidelines after injuring his ankle in pre-season.
Walton played all 46 of Blackburn’s Championship games on loan last term, conceding 63 goals (1.37 per game) and keeping 12 clean sheets (26.1% of games). Steele has made just one senior appearance for Brighton since joining in 2018 while Sanchez is still awaiting a first team debut for the Seagulls, having shipped 53 goals in 35 matches (1.51 per game) on loan at Rochdale in 2019/20, with nine shutouts (25.71% of games).
Although Christian Joel has very little experience at senior level and has never played a top-flight match, his concession figures stand up to scrutiny in comparison with the goalkeeping alternatives to Ryan at Brighton.
Also, with Madrid’s top two clubs both reportedly interested, that is an indicator of the Cuban’s talents, so it would be quite a coup for the Seagulls if they can swoop for him.
Brighton fans, how impressive would the signing of Christian Joel be if the Seagulls beat the likes of Real Madrid to his signature? Comment below with your views!
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