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Roberto De Zerbi to exit Brighton after Manchester United match

Published: Updated: 06:07, 20 May 2024
Kieran McKenna tipped to replace the Italian coach at American Express Stadium

Brighton head coach, Roberto De Zerbi, is set to leave the club following their final Premier League match of the season against Manchester United on Sunday. The announcement was made by Chairman Tony Bloom who stated that the departure of the Italian coach was a mutual agreement between him and the Premier League club.

De Zerbi, 44, formerly coached Shakhtar Donetsk before joining Brighton in September 2022 on a four-year contract. Under his leadership, Brighton achieved its highest-ever top-flight finish last season by securing sixth place. This remarkable feat led to European qualification for the first time in Brighton's history.

The Seagulls also enjoyed Europa League victories over Ajax, Marseille and AEK Athens this season under De Zerbi’s guidance. They topped their group but were unfortunately knocked out in the last 16 by Roma.

Before their final game on Sunday against Manchester United, they are positioned tenth in the Premier League table with no possibility of climbing higher this season.

Roberto De Zerbi leaves on happy note

During his tenure as head coach after succeeding Graham Potter who left for Chelsea, De Zerbi oversaw significant player sales which brought substantial revenue to Brighton. Players such as Leandro Trossard, Alexis Mac Allister, Robert Sanchez and Moises Caicedo were sold for a combined total exceeding £200m.

Brighton chairman, Tony Bloom, said:

“Roberto has given us two excellent seasons of service in which he has led the club to new heights, not least our first-ever European campaign which will live long in the memory of Albion fans.

“We have mutually agreed to end Roberto’s contract at a time that suits both parties allowing us the earliest opportunity to plan for next season, and Roberto plenty of time to consider his next move and his future,”

Coaching staff to follow De Zerbi on his way out

In addition to De Zerbi’s departure from Brighton after Sunday's game against Man Utd., seven members of his coaching staff will also be leaving. However, first-team coach Andrew Crofts and goalkeeper coach Stern will remain with the club providing some continuity amidst these changes.

Brighton manager, Roberto De Zerbi, said:

“We have agreed to end my time at Brighton so that the club and I can continue to work in the way that suits each of us best, following our own ideas and visions, as well as our work and human values. Leaving now provides me with time to take a break before deciding on my future plans.

“I am very sad to be leaving Brighton, but I am very proud of what my players and staff have achieved with the support of everyone at the club and our amazing fans in the past two historical seasons,

As speculation mounts about who will replace De Zerbi at Brighton’s helm next season one name has emerged as a potential candidate. Kieran McKenna, who recently led Championship club Ipswich Town to Premier League promotion, is rumoured to be on Brighton’s shortlist of potential successors.

Roberto De Zerbi's departure marks the end of an era for Brighton. His tenure saw significant achievements including a historic European qualification and substantial player sales. As the club prepares for its final match of the season against Manchester United, fans will undoubtedly be eager to see who steps in as their new head coach.

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