For some strange reason Stoke City manager Tony Pulis thought it was a good idea to release a strong and experienced centre back in Matt Upson to go and play football on loan with Brighton in the Championship.
It seems to have been a decision which has backfired because while Brighton look good for a shot at Premier League promotion via the play-offs, Stoke are struggling to avoid getting sucked into the relegation battle.
Upson is of course just on a loan deal, but if Brighton go up then he has excellent grounds to push for a permanent transfer to the side at the end of the season, when the summer transfer window opens up.
He will still feel as though he is good enough to be playing at Premier League level because he has all of the core skills needed to play consistently well at the top level; experience, height, strength and power among other things.
He was a little unfortunate to have been sent out on loan and not given more of a chance this season by Stoke, but then he can’t really do anything about the quality of a player like Ryan Shawcross.
The reason the club sent Upson on loan, has to have been the fact that Stoke do have access to some potentially exciting defenders, which literally left them with not many other options.
He’s done very well with Brighton and has enjoyed a status within the club and with the fans, which will make him more determined to try and force a permanent move if they go up.
He’s started every single match he’s been selected for at Brighton, 15 appearances so far, which suggests he’s probably the most important centre back they are using at the moment.
The other big factor here is the point that playing in the Premier League is something which opens up the possibility of playing international football again despite the fact he’s 34-years-old.
He claims that his England days are over but if he plays very well again at Premier League level then there is always that chance that Roy Hodgson will pick up the phone and see whether he’s available to play in a friendly or a more competitive match.
However, for now he has to focus on getting Brighton into the Premier League and if Stoke go in the opposite direction that would be a remarkable sequence of events, which backfires on the current Premier League side in a drastic way.
Can Brighton pull it off?
image: © markusunger