Why Brighton and Hove Albion fans should not have expected too much from Jurgen Locadia - Scott McCarthy

Jurgen Locadia in action against Southampton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Jurgen Locadia in action against Southampton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Just because something costs a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean its going to be a brilliant purchase.

Just ask Bill Gates about the $7bn that Microsoft spent on acquiring Nokia in 2013. Or any studio that invested in a film involving Nicolas Cage throughout most of the 00’s. Or the $4,300 that a ticket for the Parlour suite on the Titanic cost.

It’s something that Brighton and Hove Albion fans would do well to remember going forward. On the day he signed, Jurgen Locadia was hailed as a superstar, the next Robin van Persie and the best thing since sliced bread based on very little else than the fact his transfer fee broke the club record.

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Albion fans have a brilliant tradition when it comes to this, especially since Tony Bloom started pumping in the cash behind the scenes circa 2008. The capture of Diego Arismendi remains a personal favourite. Signed on-loan from Stoke City towards the end of the 2009-10 season, message boards went into meltdown over the acquisition of the Uruguayan midfielder based on the fact that Tony Pulis had shelled out £1m for him.

Needless to say, Arismendi was a fantastic disappointment. It’s hard to know what the highlight of his two months at Withdean was. Getting sent off away at Milton Keynes Dons was good, but he also managed to get himself dismissed in a reserve team game for headbutting an opponent, there were constant complaints about loud music blasting out of his Brighton flat in the early hours of the morning and his girlfriend left him to return to Uruguay. A brilliant few months’ work.

Craig Mackail-Smith was also feted as an incredible signing, despite all of the Albion’s success under Gus Poyet up until that point coming with a completely different type of player to the £3.5m arrival from Peterborough United. We should have realised that a manager as stubborn as Poyet was never likely to change his ways and Mackail-Smith might therefore struggle to make an impression but no, money trumped logic and the new man was the best investment ever made until a few months into his Albion career.

And now we come to Locadia. He suffers from the same problem that Mackail-Smith does in that he isn’t Glenn Murray. Brighton’s success in the Premier League has come playing with a target man type forward operating as a lone striker, not a man who is most effective in a front three and has admitted that he can’t actually head a ball.

That should have been warning sign number one not to get carried away with the signing of Locadia. Warning sign number two should have been he was scoring goals in a Dutch League in which Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Vincent Janssen had both looked like Lionel Messi. Signing players from the Eredivisie is fraught with danger as more often than not, they fail to make the grade in the Premier League. Hopefully, the man who has taken Locadia’s mantle as Brighton’s record buy doesn’t fit that category, otherwise I will be able to copy and paste this column in a year’s time given the fanfare that greeted Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s summer arrival, again based on the money being paid.

The third warning sign should have been that, despite the fact Locadia was scoring goals at a time when the Netherlands were fielding the worst side in their history, he still couldn’t win an international cap. Even Janssen was leading the line for Oranje ahead of him.

Had everyone of looked objectively at Locadia rather than going all misty eyed over the £14m fee, it would have become clear at the time that we were actually signing a young, raw centre forward who had only scored goals in a poor Dutch League, wasn’t considered good enough for a Netherlands side who lost to Bulgaria, Greece and drew with Sweden and who didn’t fit into the way that Chris Hughton plays.

Sure, his work rate at times leaves a lot to be desired and if he spent less time trying to crack the iTunes top 500 and more time working on his finishing then he might not be missing headers at an open goal from six yards as we saw at Burnley on Saturday.

But as disappointing as the guy has been, he was never likely to live up to Albion fans expectations because they were so high. It might be worth remembering that when January rolls around – look at the player we’re signing, not how much they cost.

You won’t end up more disappointed than a Nicolas Cage film then.