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Pervis Estupiñán - Why didn’t it work out at Villarreal and what should Brighton expect?

Ecuadorean left back Pervis Estupiñán has joined Brighton from Villarreal for around £15m. But why did the move to Castellón not work out for him, and what will he bring to Brighton?

Let’s take it back to 2017. Back when Estupiñán was a young talent who Watford recently signed from Granada’s youth set up but is unable to play in England due to work permit problems. He’s loaned out to Almeria in the Segunda Division and does well, but his breakout season was the season after, in 2018/19 with RCD Mallorca, still in the Segunda. He scored 3 goals, provided 2 assists and massively helped Mallorca climb back into La Liga after a long time away.

Despite Mallorca’s best efforts to bring him back, Pervis went on loan to La Liga strugglers Osasuna, and shined. Playing 36 games, getting 1 goal and 5 assists, as well as being named in the 19/20 La Liga team of the season. This raised the eyebrows of a lot of La Liga sides. Villarreal fought offsides such as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for Estupiñán’s signature, and he joined in summer 2020 from Watford for around £20m, despite never playing a game in England.

At this time, Villarreal had a total of four left backs. Left back Alfonso Pedraza was coming off the back of a very impressive loan spell at Real Betis and ended up starting the 20/21 season ahead of Estupiñán, in Unai Emery’s first lineup as Villarreal boss.

Pedraza had a great season and Estupiñán was stuck as a rotational full back after failing to impress in his early opportunities. Over time Pedraza has became a brilliant, two way left back and Estupiñán rarely gets the chance to impress anymore.

Despite this, in 21/22, Estupiñán got a taste of Champions League football after winning the Europa League in the prior season. He made 16 appearances and had some really good performances, including a man of the match performance against Manchester United.

But what should Brighton expect from the Ecuadorean? Pervis is a very attacking minded full back, he darts forward and is a deadly crosser of the ball. He should work perfectly in Potter’s wing back set up, a set up he hasn’t been trailed in yet in his career. He does have some defensive flaws that can be fixed, but overall he is a capable defender. He tracks back well, not afraid of a tackle and definitely not afraid of a yellow card.

As well as being a talented passer of the ball, Estupiñán also takes set pieces. He’s a great free kick taker and can put in a brilliant in swinging corner. He’s a star player for the Ecuadorean national team and stands out every game he plays for them. He played a massive part in their Copa America run, and Brighton fans can watch him play alongside Moises Caicedo and Jeremy Sarmiento at the World Cup this winter.

A new scenery was definitely needed for Estupiñán, who, at only 24 years old, still has the potential to become an elite level full back, and Graham Potter is the perfect coach to get the best out of him.

Brighton fans have a lot to look forward too with him. He should be a suitable replacement for the departed Marc Cucurella and could definitely become a fan favourite at the AMEX in no time at all.

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