Brighton & Hove Albion’s search for a striker this summer was well documented, but the last thing fans would have expected was to sign one who is proven in European football and then loan him to the Championship.
That’s exactly what they did though as they struck a deal with Slavia Prague of the Czech Republic to sign Senegal international Abdallah Sima for a fee in the region of £6 million.
The 20-year-old starred for the club in the Europa League last season, scoring goals against Nice and Leicester City whilst also netting 11 times in his domestic league and it led to the Seagulls investing in him.
And with a Brighton player already at the Potters in Leo Ostigard, Stoke was selected as the destination for Sima this season to get him ready for Premier League football next season – how’s he getting on so far though?
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His deadline day arrival meant that it would be after the international break when Stoke fans first got to see Sima, but even that was delayed due to the visa process which was happening in Paris.
Sima did get his debut last week in midweek though when coming off the bench against Barnsley, and then started against Derby County on Saturday in what ended up being a 2-1 loss for the Potters – the striker was taken off after just 59 minutes though.
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By all accounts Sima was largely anonymous at Pride Park, but he’s expected to make a big impact for the club this season with assistant manager Dean Holden praising his abilities.
“Straight away you can see the intent which he plays with,” Holden told the Stoke Sentinel.
He’s so direct and positive. He’s quick and he’s comfortable in one v one situations. He wants to really make things happen.
“He’s still very young and very raw. Up until he was 18 he was still playing in Senegal, so he hasn’t been coached in the same way the Academy players are in this country.
“They have been in the system since they were seven or eight years old, but he’s always just played football growing up and you can see that he loves the ball.
“He just wants to be dangerous in attack and a threat in behind as well. He’s a really exciting player.”