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Ince is my inspiration, says Albion new signing Monakana
Jeffrey Monakana wants to emulate the rapid rise of his friend Rohan Ince after joining him at Albion.
The Seagulls snapped up the 20-year-old former Arsenal winger from Preston North End last night for an undisclosed fee.
Monakana has signed a development contract until June 2015 and will start off in the under-21s.
His arrival does not affect Albion’s interest in re-signing Craig Conway from Cardiff.
But Monakana, who has already made more than 40 League One appearances for Preston and Colchester, is intent on copying midfielder Ince’s quickfire progression into Albion’s first team after consulting his fellow Londoner about the move.
Monakana revealed: “Rohan said he took a little time adapt – but now he has and having been given a chance to play, he has taken it. He advised me to do my best in training and in games and that he is sure I can break through as well.
“In the summer we often do fitness programmes together and I played against him a few times when he was at Chelsea and I was at Arsenal. It is not really a surprise to see he is doing what he is doing now. My aim is to go on and do the same as him.”
Monakana, hailed by Albion’s head of football David Burke as quick, powerful and versatile, turned down the chance to stay in League One in a bid to follow the paths of Ince, Jake Forster-Caskey and Solly March from the development group into the first team under Oscar Garcia.
He said: “There were a lot of other League One clubs interested but as soon as I heard Brighton wanted me I couldn’t turn that down. I couldn’t wait to get down here and try to prove myself at Championship level. I feel this is the best move for me.
“I have seen that this club gives young players their chance and that was the main factor in my decision to come here.
“I have only been here for a short time but I can see the infrastructure is great, the stadium has great facilities and there are a lot of good people here, similar to Arsenal with what they have at the Emirates.
“Now I am looking to working hard to get my chance – that is my next challenge. It is great to be at this club and good to be back down south. My family are really pleased about that and I am really happy.”
Monakana, from Enfield, began his career at Arsenal before Graham Westley signed him for Preston two summers ago.
He featured regularly in the first team last season but has made only two substitute appearances this season under Westley’s successor, Simon Grayson, and returned from a nine-game loan spell at Colchester in November.
Grayson, speaking after his return, described Monakana as a raw talent but said: “I don’t need a player who’s only going to be effective for ten or 15 minutes.”
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