This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Brighton travel to Newcastle in the Premier League tomorrow afternoon but, 10 years ago this week, the Seagulls were two divisions lower than the Magpies in the English football ladder.
Earlier in 2010, the Geordies sent a young winger named Kazenga LuaLua on loan to the south coast, making 11 appearances in his first spell in Sussex in 2009/10 before equalling that tally during a second loan move the following season. The DR Congo forward played his part in Brighton’s promotion from League One, scoring four goals that term for Gustavo Poyet’s side.
That tally would surely have been higher had it not been for a sickening leg break in a November 2010 fixture against Hartlepool, which saw him immediately return to Newcastle for the lengthy recovery process.
After making the loan move to Brighton for a third time in the summer of 2011, LuaLua finally joined the Seagulls permanently later that year in a deal worth £1.15m (as per TransferMarkt). He made 27 appearances for Albion in the Championship but his most memorable goal may well have been in the FA Cup, his free kick drawing Brighton level against Liverpool at Anfield before the home side ran out 6-1 winners.
The African winger continued to feature regularly for Albion over the next two seasons, making 24 and 34 league appearances in 2012/13 and 2013/14 respectively as they made the play-offs on both occasions, only for promotion to remain elusive.
The 2015/16 campaign began promisingly for LuaLua as he scored the first goal of the Championship season against Nottingham Forest but it again ended in frustration as he made just 19 league appearances and the Seagulls were again defeated in the play-offs.
By the start of 2016/17, he was a peripheral presence in Chris Hughton’s squad and played only three league games at the outset of that campaign before joining QPR on loan in January 2017. Having endured so much play-off anguish in his time at Brighton, he could only watch from afar as the Seagulls finally broke through the glass ceiling to reach the Premier League.
Do you think Brighton got good value from Kazenga LuaLua?
The DR Congo winger played 183 times in total for Brighton, scoring 22 goals and providing 25 assists. While he was out of the picture by the time they got to the Premier League, he gave several years of loyal service to the club on their journey from League One to the top flight – and for a fee of just £1.15m, the Seagulls can feel that they got bang for their buck from the 29-year-old, who is now at Luton.
Brighton fans, what was your favourite memory of LuaLua in a Seagulls shirt? Let us know in the comments section below!
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