Goalkeeper Mat Ryan is confident he can be part of Brighton’s development in 2020/21 despite recent transfer speculation.
He was a consistent performer as the club developed under Graham Potter last season and helped steer the Seagulls away from relegation worries.
Despite that, Brighton had been linked to a move for Arsenal keeper Emil Martinez, who is now bound for Aston Villa.
That speculation left some questioning where that might leave Australia’s number one on the eve of the new campaign.
However, Ryan is untroubled by the rumors and welcomed the competition should Brighton choose to bolster their options between the posts.
“Competition is always going to bring out the best for everyone, but I have no idea what the situation is with all that,” Ryan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“All I know is I’m a player for Brighton, and I’m preparing to try and have the best season I can personally to help contribute to the club.
“If it was to happen, I back myself to get on with it and do all I can to maintain mine. But right now, that particular circumstance isn’t a reality. There’s a lot of speculation so I’m not getting caught up in any of that.”
Ryan played every game for the Seagulls last term and can have a key role once again.
His consistent season was also highlighted by his popularity for those playing Fantasy Premier League.
He was the eighth highest-scoring keeper in the league last term, scoring 135 points thanks to nine clean sheets. Ryan was also a popular choice with over 20% of players having him in their team.
The last Australian left in the Premier League could now be part of more development under Potter.
The days of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill might be long gone, but Ryan has plenty to build on after last season.
Brighton picked up notable wins over Spurs, Arsenal and Everton, not to mention hard-fought draws with Wolves, Sheffield United and Chelsea as they eventually stayed clear of the drop zone.
Those victories all came with a change of style under the new manager that saw them take plenty of risks playing out from the back, but which also rewarded them and their fans with some quality interplay and eye-catching build-up.
More potential progress is reflected in the latest relegation odds, which sees Brighton made an unlikely 7/2 chance for the drop.
While Brighton and Ryan continue to be of interest for the club’s fans and international bookmakers all over the world. The Seagulls have been incredibly popular in the Down Under due to the 28-year-old Socceroos showings. As a result, many new betting sites like PlayUp, have introduced EPL in their sportsbooks, alongside other local leagues and sports
With that first year now under his belt, manager Potter should be able to cement his style even more on those in the squad. Ironing out a few errors could see them much higher placed in the coming campaign.
Another factor in helping Ryan’s chances of an impressive season will be the defence in front of him this term.
Defensively they did well compared to the teams around them last season, and it’s an area they should be even stronger in during the 2020/21 campaign.
Ben White has returned from his loan with Leeds United as one of the most sought-after young defenders in the league. Dutch defender Joel Veltman has also arrived from Ajax, and captain Lewis Dunk looks to be staying.
Add in full-back Tariq Lamptey following a breakthrough year and the arrival of another Dutchman, 20-year-old center-back Jan Paul van Hecke from NAC, and Potter has plenty to work with to protect Ryan even more.
Another key factor that could boost Ryan’s clean sheet numbers this season is the continued development of Mali midfield powerhouse Yves Bissouma.
That said, it should be noted that inconsistency did see the Seagulls drop points against the likes of Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Watford last year. No matter how easy they were on the eye, they lacked an edge to kick on towards mid-table.
Potter taking the pressure off his defensive ranks and having more of the ball in the final third shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to Ryan’s potential stats.
That’s why the addition of Adam Lallana could be key, despite him playing at the opposite end of the pitch to the Australia keeper.
Lallana will no doubt add a sprinkling of quality in the final third. The former Liverpool and England attacker should also be the perfect link between midfield and attack, while also offering better support to last season’s top scorer Neil Maupay.
Frenchman Maupay hit double figures last term and having Lallana buzzing around him could give him both the space and service he needs for more.
Belgium Leandro Trossard, like the team in general, needs to find more consistency, but his five goals and five assists in the league proved invaluable.
Ultimately, a plethora of young England hopefuls in the defensive ranks, a manager that isn’t afraid to change his system, and some added quality in the final third should all be enough to help Ryan to another impressive season between the sticks.
Even if he does get some added competition for his place, the Australian stopper looks sure to meet the challenge head on.