Brighton and Hove Albion are known for being one of the best talent identifiers in the game. Karou Mitoma has been proof of that this season, as the Japanese international has been in great form with 6 goals and two assists in his 19 Premier League games. Last season, Mitoma grabbed eight goals in the Belgian league during a season long loan spell with Union St Gilloise, the side owned by Brighton owner Tony Bloom.
Despite the link, this season Union have only taken one player on loan from Brighton this season. They have been clear in their claims that they are their own club, not an offshoot of Brighton to be used for talent development. However, in Simon Adingra they have a player who is once again highlighting Brighton’s scouting departments good work.
The 21-year-old Ivorian winger joined Brighton in the summer from Nordsjaelland, where he scored 12 goals in 40 games. He was immediately loaned to Union for the 2022/2023 season. He has scored 11 goals this season, three more than Mitoma managed in Belgium. The Ivorian has also provided five assists, with Mitoma having three during his time in Belgium.
Like Mitoma, he has not started every game for Union and has had to settle for appearances off the bench, or when there is squad rotation with European football. Union’s strength in depth is envious, with Adingra and Loïc Lapoussin both good enough to start for any team in the league but competing for the left midfield spot.
While it is unfair or would be getting carried away to say Adingra is a better player than Mitoma, it should be exciting for Brighton fans to see that another of their young players is thriving in Belgian football. Furthermore, Moises Caicedo also spent some time in Belgium with Beerschot, and he returned to Brighton and has excelled. Expectations may be high that Adingra could do the same next season, depending on visa’s.
At the weekend he grabbed what could have been a crucial goal in the title race. His 44th minute strike gave Union a win away against leaders Genk, closing the gap at the top to just five points. Once the regular season ends in Belgium the points each of the top four has will be halved as the play-offs determine who will win the title. This goal from Adingra could be one that gives Union a real shot at taking the title, having missed out last season despite having only just been promoted back to the top flight.