In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Brighton’s clash with Manchester United yesterday could have caused some conflicting emotions in a certain Glenn Murray, who is currently on loan at Watford from the Seagulls but is a boyhood fan of the Red Devils.
Now 36, the striker joined Brighton in 2008 when they were a League One club and spent three-and-a-half years in Sussex, scoring 22 league goals in 2010/11 as he fired them into the Championship. However, after rejecting multiple offers of a new contract from Albion at the end of that season, he was released by the club and left on a free transfer…to A23 rivals Crystal Palace.
Fate would decree that Murray was in the Palace team that met Brighton in the Championship play-off semi-finals two years later and, inevitably, he attracted headlines following the first leg. Sadly for him, it was because he suffered a serious knee injury, much to the mocking derision of some travelling supporters at Selhurst Park that night.
Murray eventually moved on to Bournemouth in 2015 in the early weeks of their first Premier League season but, a year later, he dropped back to the second tier in a move as sensational as his switch to the Eagles in 2011.
On 3 July 2016, Brighton announced that Murray was back at the club on a season-long loan. Naturally there may have been some opposition to his return given how he left for Palace, but just as he scored 30 goals in helping the south Londonders into the Premier League in 2013, he performed a similar feat upon his return to Sussex.
The striker’s 23 league goals in 2016/17 were crucial to Brighton winning promotion to the top flight, with Murray making his loan move permanent midway through the season in a £3.15m deal (as per TransferMarkt). The redemption act had well and truly been completed.
It’s one thing to score a bundle of goals to get a team into the Premier League. It’s another to find the net often enough to then keep the team there, yet that is what he did in the memorable 2017/18 campaign. Murray’s 12-goal haul was crucial to keeping Albion in the top flight at the first time of asking, and his 13 goals the following season perhaps proved even more priceless as the Seagulls very narrowly beat the drop.
Having struggled to hold down a place in Graham Potter’s first XI last season, though, he decided to join Watford on loan over the summer, a move he made with 111 Brighton goals to his name, making him the second-highest scorer in the club’s history behind Tommy Cook.
Do you think Glenn Murray is the greatest striker in Brighton's history?
The We Are Brighton blog recently made cogent arguments for Murray to be considered the greatest striker in Albion history, with the summary that: “Not many players could win over the fans of a club once in 2009, leave for their bitter rivals in 2011, return in 2016 and go onto achieve legendary status by 2020. Murray did though.”
That is a sign of how highly he is regarded at the Amex Stadium despite the circumstances of his move to Crystal Palace, and Brighton can be glad that the 36-year-old gladly took up the role of the prodigal son back in 2016.
Brighton fans, were you shocked when Murray returned to the Seagulls four years ago? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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