Brighton and Hove Albion’s promotion to Premier League saw them make several acquisitions to aid their survival campaign. The Seagulls signed several players with the capability of improving the current squad, strengthening any potential weaknesses heading into their first top-flight campaign. Pascal Groß stands out as a particularly influential signing.
Groß contributes hugely, with both goals and assists. He has been praised for his ability to create chances in the final third and set-piece scenarios. Groß was nominated for ‘player of the month’ in October and has even been quoted as the Premier League ‘bargain of the season’.
Is Pascal Groß The Bargain Of The Season?
Who is Pascal Groß?
Groß, rendered to Gross in English, followed his father by playing football professionally. Born in 1991, Gross graduated through the 1899 Hoffenheim youth system. He made his professional debut against VFL Wolfsburg in 2009. Groß also represented Germany at both U18 and U19 level during this period.
Gross moved to Kalsrucher SC in 2011, whom his father, Stephan, previously played for. After 25 games and scoring three goals for the club, Gross attracted the attention of several clubs, including German second division side FC Ingolstadt 04.
Through his 158 appearances at the club, representing Ingolstadt at both second tier and top tier German divisions, Gross racked up a respectable 17 goals. However, evident with his move to Brighton in their 2017/18 campaign. Gross is a number 10, out to create rather than score. When Ingolstadt were relegated from the Bundesliga, Gross had created a total of 95 chances, more than any other player in the league.
May 2017 saw the arrival of Gross at the Albion for a rumoured £2.7million on a four-year-deal. The transfer fee paid constituted a new transfer record for Ingolstadt.
Gross’ Style of Play
A number 10 with the ability to score and create chances is a valuable asset to any professional team. Whilst many sides have adopted the 3-4-2-1 or simple variations to a three-man defence concept, Brighton stuck with a traditional 4-2-3-1 system with Gross as the focal point.
4-2-3-1 gives Gross the creativity and freedom to play a free-role. This is notable through his defensive contributions, channel runs and at points, playing as high up the pitch as the lone striker. Additionally, Gross’ set-piece expertise makes Brighton dangerous from dead ball situations with both Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy dominant in aerial battles.
Gross’ vision, accompanied by his passing ability and simple act of being at the right place at the right time makes him crucial to Brighton. In October, Gross had been involved in every single goal Brighton scored.
Since signing for Brighton, Gross has been ever-present, making 13 appearances. In this time Gross scored three goals and has five assists to his name. Most notably, he scored two goals in Brighton’s first league win against West Bromwich Albion. It is an incredible return for any player in their first English Premier League campaign. The attacking-midfield three of José Izquierdo on the left, Gross through the middle and Anthony Knockaert on the right has almost become a frighteningly dangerous attacking threat to any top tier side.
It seems Chris Hughton is the man Brighton fans have to thank for the acquisition of Pascal Gross. Hughton sent a video explaining Brighton’s recent growth to Gross in an attempt to attract him to the South coast. Additionally, Gross was a guest at Brighton’s promotion winning game against Wigan, witnessing the AMEX at its best first hand.
Gross has made a massive impact since joining Brighton in May. His ability to create, assist and score has enabled Brighton to make a good start to life in the Premier League. With his current form, rumours of a national call-up have been on the cards. Whilst only being 26, it seems maintaining Gross could ensure Brighton’s Premier League status for the next few seasons.