BRIGHTON chief Paul Barber has cheekily joked that Chelsea could target the club’s cleaning staff next.
The Seagulls’ rise up the Premier League table over the past few years has been remarkable.
And Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was clearly left impressed by Brighton’s infrastructure when he hired boss Graham Potter to replace axed Champions League winner Thomas Tuchel.
Even before that, the Blues spent a whopping £62million on Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella.
And they have pinched no less than six backroom staff members from the Amex, including four coaches and two scouts.
Chelsea continue to be linked with several Brighton stars, most notably midfield due Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister.
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And some reports even claim Roberto De Zerbi – who replaced Potter on the south coast – is now an option to take over from him at Stamford Bridge.
But while Seagulls CEO Barber is happy to discuss player sales, he admits he is less keen when Chelsea call him for staff members.
And Barber aimed a hilarious dig at Boehly’s poaching by claiming the American could be headhunting Brighton’s cleaning team next.
He said: “I am happy to pick up the phone to Chelsea anytime as well, absolutely fine… apart from when it’s for our coaches.
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“I have told the cleaning staff to be careful, you never know, they may be head-hunted as well!
“In all seriousness, a club of our size can only really compete if we trade well.
“All the other things football clubs should be doing anyway, we should be selling out our stadium and getting the best sponsors.
“For us, Premier League revenue is really important, the TV revenue is critical to what we do.
“The only way we can really compete and generate a profit for our owner is to trade well and that means finding players that other clubs are not finding.
“Getting them from markets that are less developed and therefore cheaper, coaching those players well, developing them well and ultimately if they do well selling them on at a profit.”
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