Albion have launched the revamp of their strike force by completing the capture of Chris O’Grady from Barnsley.
The 28-year-old has joined the Seagulls on a three-year contract for a fee believed to be £500,000 after finalising personal terms and passing a medical at the Amex yesterday.
O’Grady is not a direct replacement for Leicester-bound Leo Ulloa. Manager Sami Hyypia is working with head of football David Burke on further additions to Albion’s firepower, as well as a goalkeeper, left-back, midfielder and winger.
Hyypia said: “This is an area we want to strengthen and Chris is a good start. He is a strong, physical presence and gives us something different to the other strikers we already have here at the club.
“You need that option in the squad of a forward with power and strength, and Chris can give us that – as well as scoring goals.
“We still want some extra attacking additions, and in other areas of the team, but I’m pleased we have another one of our targets.”
“O’Grady will be reunited with former Rochdale team-mates Will Buckley and Dale Stephens when he starts training with the squad on Monday ahead of his debut in Wednesday’s friendly at Crawley.
He is aiming to build on a 15-goal return in the Championship with relegated Barnsley and ten goals in the 2012-13 campaign, part of which he spent on loan to the Tyke from Sheffield Wednesday.
O’Grady said: "For the past two seasons I’ve hit double figures and that has been a reflection of the desire and hunger that I have to succeed at this level.
"I will always give everything, no matter who I’m playing for, but having played for Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday in the past, I know what it’s like to play for a big club – and Brighton certainly fall into that category.
"Earlier in my career playing for those clubs might have been a bit daunting for me, but at my age I know how to deal with the expectation and to win the fans over. It’s fantastic to be joining a club with such big ambitions and to be joining in the peak years of my career."
O’Grady, who flew back early from Barnsley’s pre-season training camp in the Italian Alps to complete the move, is also looking forward to meeting Hyypia and playing under him.
He said: "We’ve already spoken on the phone, as he’s been in Spain with the squad, but from what I heard it’s clear that he is a very hard-working and very organised manager. He’s also very experienced and well respected in the game, so I can only learn from someone like him."
Meanwhile, Albion will have to wait for the chance to re-sign versatile front man Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United.
Lingard has been included after all with five other youngsters in new United manager Louis van Gaal’s 25-man squad for the pre-season tour of the USA.
United’s last match in the States could be as late as August 4, five days before Albion launch their Championship campaign at home to Sheffield Wednesday, if they reach the final of the International Champions Cup.
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