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Premier League side Brighton are set to miss talisman Kaoru MItoma for some months due to injury. The season has been topsy-turvy for the club, but they have managed to stay in the Europa League as well as fight for European place in the Premier League.

Mitoma was one of the outstanding breakout stars of the 2022/23 season in all of European football, playing a crucial role in helping Brighton qualify for Europe for the first time in their history. 

However, the Seagulls will have to face the latter end of the season without one of their most influential players.

Kaoru Mitoma: injury-hit 2023/24 campaign

Mitoma burst onto the scene last campaign and made a great impact in Brighton’s season because of his availability. The 26-year-old Japanese has struggled for fitness this season and it has shown in some games when the Seagulls struggled to get going.

The winger missed about a month with an ankle injury between December and January, and now he has an even worse injury to deal with that will likely take him out of the season.

"I think we have lost Mitoma until the end of the season," Roberto De Zerbi told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round game at Wolves. "It's an important problem. I think two or three months, finished the season."

Mitoma's injury only adds to Brighton's growing list of injured players, with the club missing nine players before the cup clash with Wolves.

"[Evan] Ferguson tomorrow, he can't play [due to an ankle injury]. [Danny] Welbeck has a problem and we have to make a check," De Zerbi said.

"[Joel] Veltman as well can't play and the other players injured can't play."

The injury problems of Mitoma disrupted his output this season, which has limited him to scoring just three goals in 19 appearances this term

Brighton in the 2023/24 season

Brighton made a great achievement when they finished in sixth place in the Premier League last season. That feat earned them a place in this season’s Europa League - the first in their history.

The group stage draw placed the Seagulls in group B alongside the likes of Olympique Marseille, Ajax Amsterdam, and AEK Athens. Brighton amassed a total of 13 points from six group stage matches (4W, 1D, 1L) to finish top of group B and head straight into the round of 16. They scored 10 goals and conceded 5 goals.

Brighton and Hove Albion are getting set to lock horns with AS Roma on March 7 and March 14 respectively in the round of 16. Brighton tickets are in high demand ahead of those fixtures.

Brighton and Hove Albion lack experience at this level in Europe’s second-tier competition and the absence of the influential Kaoru Mitoma could play a part in the tie over two legs.

In the Premier League, Brighton have done quite well but it remains to be seen if they can cope in the absence of Mitoma and the rest of the first-team players.

As of the time of writing, the Seagulls have 39 points to their name and are seventh on the log - eight points off the last automatic European spot.

Three capable options as a replacement for Kaoru Mitoma

Here are three players who must step up and make the most of the Japanese international’s absence.

Simon Adingra

Simon has seen a serious upturn in his Brighton career over the past few months. Mitoma was unarguably Brighton’s biggest breakout star in the 2022/23 season, while the Ivorian international has been this season’s version for the Seagulls.

The 22-year-old has found the back of the net an impressive six times this season, establishing himself as one of the best young players in the Premier League this season.

Adingra is one of the most coveted wingers in English football currently, and his stocks went higher after his massive impact at AFCON for eventual champions Cote d’Ivoire.

The young lad provided two assists in the final against Nigeria to help the Elephants come from a goal down to win the African title on home soil. Consequently, he was named the young player of the tournament and has carried the form into the Premier League.

Brighton will need Adingra to step up now that he is guaranteed to play more in the absence of Mitoma on the left wing. 

Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati is running out of time to change the perception that his season on loan from Barcelona has not worked out fine for Brighton & Hove Albion. The once highly regarded talent left Barcelona to get his career back on track, but it has not gone according to plan.

To be fair to Fati, he has not featured that much from the start for Brighton. The Spanish international has made just 2 starts compared to 11 substitute appearances in the Premier League this season. 

Fati has started more in the Europa League and other cup games but he has been found wanting on those occasions.

The 21-year-old is talented but has not been able to have sustained time in the Brighton lineup this season. Fati, a clinical finisher who moves intelligently off the ball, Fati can be part of the solution to replace Mitoma.

With his future at Barcelona seemingly over, Fati has the final three months of the season to prove his mettle at Brighton and he needs to take it with both hands.

Danny Welbeck

The Veteran has remained an important player for Brighton, on and off the pitch. While Simon and Fati are comfortable on the wings, Welbeck can offer a lot across the frontline if need be and could play a role in the rest of their campaign.

Welbeck, who has played for Arsenal and Manchester United in the top flight, has forged a decent career for himself, and his all-round play can help Brighton achieve their aim in the absence of Mitoma.

Welbeck has made do with a bit-part role for most of the season behind the younger Joao Pedro and rising star Evan Ferguson. The 33-year-old was quite good last season in a creative, linking role and could be handed a similar role as we enter the home stretch of the season.

Following a run of few games in the side, Welbeck was given a chance in the matches against Sheffield and Tottenham, where he has shown signs of stepping up to the plate.

With Mitoma ruled out now, the Seagulls need a little more attacking impetus and end product from Welbeck and he could offer that. 

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