Albion's move for Joel Veltman is reward for more two years of hard work and patience.

The Ajax and Holland defender is preparing for a new adventure in the Premier League after almost two decades with Ajax.

He arrives for a little more £900,000 after agreeing to extend his stint with the Amsterdam giants two years ago.

Part of the agreement at the time was that, in return for his loyalty, his release clause would be lowered in the event of a Premier League club coming in.

Two years on, the time is now right to leave the Netherlands.

The Argus understands Albion have kept close tabs on his situation for at least two years.

They were aware of the change in release clause and ideally placed to snap up what looks a major bargain.

Veltman completed a three-year deal on a trip to the Amex on Wednesday as Albion beat off Prem opposition.

His decision was based on on-field and off-field considerations as he relocates a young family.

Veltman was impressed by the persistent but patient way in which Albion kept tabs on him.

A degree of communication was maintained with his agent – within the rules.

It is understood a discussion with head coach Graham Potter helped seal the deal from the football viewpoint.

But he was also keen to find the right city for his wife and child.

Davy Propper’s recommendation of Brighton and surrounding area as a place to live was a key to his final decision.

The unsung star of the whole operation appears to have been head of recruitment Paul Winstanley, who has been on the case for two years plus.

He is understood to have carried out a brilliant amount of work in establishing there was a release fee of such a low level for a player of Veltman’s quality and experience.

Not to mention the coaching he has had at Ajax.

A source with good knowledge of the Ajax set-up said: “It is one of maybe three academies in the world where people go to study how they do things.

“Joel has had the best possible coaching from the youngest possible age and technically he is very gifted.”

Veltman played in 31 matches for club and country last season, a campaign which was curtailed in the Eredivisie and at international level due to coronavirus.

He comes with the tag of being a versatile defender.

Of course, he is comfortable on the ball. An Argus contact in Dutch football sees him as a bargain, “probably” a good signing and certainly “a good guy.”

In the context of what we have seen from Albion under Potter, his attributes appear to open up a couple of obvious possibilities.

One is to play on the right of a back three with a wing-back, such as Tariq Lamptey, roaming ahead and outside him.

The other is as right-back in a four, potentially with Lamptey further forward.

Well those are the obvious options.

Anyone who has followed Albion this season will also be aware there could be less obvious possibilities which Potter is considering.

The two players over whom his arrival seems to pose most question marks are Shane Duffy and Martin Montoya.

But it is understood, while tentative and informal enquiries about which players might be available go on among clubs on a regular basis, Albion have received no formal offers for any of their squad members.

It is also worth remembering Albion have now parted company with right-back Ezequiel Schelotto.

The Seagulls have established good links with Ajax, with both clubs impressing each other with how the deal has been carried out.

Director of football Marc Overmars has been the man doing business from the Dutch side.

The move completes a productive week for Albion with Adam Lallana also on board.

In terms of transfer fees paid out, they have made little dent in the extra £2.4 million secured by winning at Burnley to move them up a place in the table.

(That figure was increased from the previous £1.9 million per finishing position to £2.7 million due to a change in the way overseas rights money is shared out, but later reduced by the rebate to broadcasters due to the coronavirus-enforced halt in matches).

Whether such rapid business is related to the impact of Covid-19 on the football world – and life in general – is open to debate.

But there is a thought within the game that some players will be keener to find out where they stand this year.

That there will be less messing about. That security and knowing where you stand are more valued than they were a year ago.

If the Nathan Ake deal, the sort of transfer which could have developed into a saga in previous years, goes through quickly, that belief will be underlined.

Of course, transfer business has started later in the year this time.

Holidays will be shorter for many players.

In Veltman’s case, he has not actually played a competitive match for six months.

Albion have moved shrewdly and decisively when the time came.

But perhaps not as quickly as might have been imagined.

It is certainly not an opportunistic strike which came out of the blue.