Brighton are well-placed to stave off the inevitable interest from wealthier clubs in Alexis Mac Allister as the Seagulls tied him down until 2025 – with an optional extra year – before his World Cup heroics with Argentina
Midfielder Mac Allister, 24 on Saturday, emerged as one of the stars of Argentina’s tournament leaving Brighton braced for a fresh spike in interest.
But they have already got themselves in a position of strength regarding his future, leaving themselves well-placed to fend off any of his admirers that may arrive.
Brighton tied Alexis Mac Allister down to a long-term deal before he starred out in Qatar
Brighton tied Mac Allister down on a new contract that runs until 2025, with a club option of a further year, in late October shortly before the season broke for the World Cup.
And that now looks like another masterstroke from the south coast club, renowned for their clever recruitment of players and staff, after Mac Allister’s displays in Qatar sent his reputation, and no doubt his value, soaring.
Mac Allister was left out of Argentina’s opening game against Saudi Arabia, the only game the newly-crowned champions lost during the tournament.
The 23-year-old midfielder helped his country lift a third World Cup trophy in their history
He then started the remaining six, scoring his first international goal in Argentina’s group game against Poland and playing a key role in their dramatic final triumph against France, capping his display by setting up Argentina’s second goal scored by Angel Di Maria.
Mac Allister is highly thought of back home
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber, who insisted Mac Allister will get all the time he needs to enjoy Argentina’s celebrations before returning to the club, said: ‘As we’ve always said when players do well, when their profile increases there is always going to be interest in them and this will be no different.
‘There was interest in him [Mac Allister] before the World Cup and I’m sure there will be even more interest afterwards.
‘When any of our players do well it’s going to attract the interest of other wealthier clubs.
‘This is a young man who at 23 has just won the World Cup and set up one of the most iconic World Cup final goals in history.
‘All we can do in situations where you have got a great asset is to try and protect yourself as best as possible.
‘We’ve done that with several of our players and staff over the last several years and obviously that’s all we can do in these situations.
Brighton chief Paul Barber revealed there was interest in the midfielder before the World Cup
‘He will be sought after but we hope to keep him here for as long as we can.’
Mac Allister’s pre-World Cup deal was reward for his development since signing for the Seagulls in 2019 from Argentinos Juniors and becoming one of their key players.
Mac Allister spent most of his first 18 months after signing out on loan back at Argentinos Juniors and then Boca Juniors.
He (right) assisted one of the most iconic goals in World Cup final history, supplying the final pass before Angel Di Maria’s (left) first-half finish made it 2-0 to the Albiceleste
When he joined Brighton, Mac Allister came with a reputation as one of the golden boys of Argentinian football and a player his country had huge hopes for.
Some eyebrows were being raised in his early days at the Amex about the big billing he came with, in part due to the more advanced positions he was being deployed in with Brighton short on firepower, not allowing him to produce his best and live up to it.
But since being used in a deeper role, something he has been able to do especially consistently this season for Brighton, he has taken his game to another level and it has become clearer what that initial fuss was all about. Especially over the last month.
Mac Allister started six of his country’s seven matches in Qatar, winning each of them