Julio Enciso says the day he signed for Albion was “unforgettable”.

It was certainly long, hot and busy.

The media focus back in Paraguay on La Joya – the jewel or diamond – as he is known made sure of that.

His compatriots back home switched on their televisions on Thursday morning and saw a report coming direct from Brighton Marina.

There were later bulletins from outside Albion’s training complex in Lancing.

Amid the detail, we were informed Enciso had enjoyed jerk chicken for lunch and been able to compliment the staff in English, saying it was “tasty”.

Then, when it was getting too late in the evening for Albion to make the official announcement of his signing, it was reported in more unofficial manner for those in Paraguay.


It was close to midnight over here when Enciso and those who came from Asuncion with him spoke to an early-evening TV audience back home via a link-up from Latinoamerica restaurant in Hove.

The four-year deal and an undisclosed transfer fee were announced by Albion at a civilised hour yesterday morning.

Reports going back to Paraguay reported the fee to be about £10 million with an extra year’s option on the contract.

If Enciso shines like those who know him well expect him to, one would think a further contractual agreement might be in place by the time that potential option kicks in.

But that will all seem a long way off to an 18-year-old right now.

For now, Enciso is focused on getting himself as fit as possible ready for pre-season.

He said: “It was a crazy day, a special day, an unforgettable day for me to be here in England, a dream from when I was a kid.

“I’m keen to visit the stadium.

“We were at the training centre and it surprised me. It’s too beautiful.

“With work, with dedication, I will grow here and hopefully win my place.

“My thoughts on coming here were to learn from everyone and be a great player.”

Enciso’s stated dreams include to play against Cristiano Ronaldo.

So fitting, then, that he was here on fixtures day.

Albion, we learned, will open their season away to the Portuguese star and Manchester United on August 7.

“What better place? Brighton put four past them this year,” reporter Christian Martin, who is Argentinean, told viewers.

But equally significant for the Paraguayans was the first home game – versus Newcastle.

Barring transfer developments, that would feature another of their stars, Miguel Almiron.

Enciso is not setting targets for his debut, which is perhaps well advised.

He comes into the category of player with whom Graham Potter has been very patient in the past.

More established signings such as Enock Mwepu and Marc Cucurella have been thrown straight in.

But others, like Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Jakub Moder, have had to wait far longer than their army of fans wanted.

Enciso said: “It would be a dream come true to play in the Premier League.”

And, he was asked, what if he scored?

He replied: “My goals are always for all my family and my grandfather who is up in heaven. I hope he can see me from above because I always remember he was my No.1 fan.

“He’ll be happy to know my dream has come true.

“I hope he can see me from up there and be proud of me.”

Enciso will not meet any of his new team-mates until training resumes the week after next.

It will be longer before many return after international action.

But he revealed Alexis Mac Allister had already sent him a message welcoming him to the club.

He added: “He’s a good person and he offered me his friendship.

“I’m very happy to have a South American to talk to.

“I want to adapt as quickly as possible because they are very good people.

“With dedication and work, I think I will learn a lot here.”

Enciso is not yet sure where he might fit into the side when the chance comes.

He added: “I’ve seen a few games. It’s up to the coach where he wants to play me.”

During his long Thursday, Enciso was joined at times by his uncle.

His own agent Pedro Aldave was there along with Libertad vice-president Jorge De Los Rios, who represented the interests of his club. De Los Rios was on a flight home yesterday but Enciso’s parents plan to come to England in six weeks’ time.

One of the TV presenters back in the studio looked at the monitor in front of him and said Brighton Marina looked like “a paradise”.

Enciso seemed to be enjoying the weather – and was advised not to expect close to 30degC too often.

Still, he did not remove a body-warmer throughout the day.

“Wait until you play at Newcastle in February,” Martin warned him playfully, referring again to the newly-released fixtures.

They spoke at times about the cold sea, the hot weather, the stony beach and they laughed when they spotted a seagull walking casually across Church Road.

Martin’s updates from sunny Sussex interrupted whatever programme was on at the time, including what looked like something akin to our Loose Women at one stage.


Once they had got to midnight here, or early evening there, Enciso was allowed to go – after saying a few words in the Guarani language which is also spoken in Paraguay.

The real work has yet to start.

The real challenge and the real, breezy, often chilly Brighton await.

But it was a fun day – which intrigued a city and captivated a nation.