Brighton have appointed Roberto De Zerbi as their new head coach to replace Graham Potter, who left to join Chelsea recently.
The 43-year-old Italian has signed a four-year contract with the Seagulls after impressing chairman Tony Bloom during talks this week. He made his name during three years at Italian side Sassuolo and has been out of work since July, having left Shakhtar Donetsk in July due to the war in Ukraine after winning the Ukrainian Super Cup.
He was understood to be Brighton’s first choice to replace Potter, who jumped ship to Chelsea earlier this month following the Blues’ shock decision to sack Thomas Tuchel. De Zerbi will be officially unveiled as Brighton’s new manager on Tuesday afternoon, with the club delaying the press conference as a mark of respect to the Queen, whose state funeral is at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.
“I am absolutely thrilled Roberto has agreed to become our new head coach,” Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said. “Roberto’s teams play an exciting and courageous brand of football, and I am confident his style and tactical approach will suit our existing squad superbly.”
Technical director David Weir added: “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved at Sassuolo certainly stands out.
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“In his short spell with Shakhtar he enjoyed further success, leading the club to cup success and topping the Ukrainian league before the war brought an abrupt halt to his time there.
“We are delighted to welcome Roberto and we look forward to introducing him to our squad as well as providing all the support he needs to introduce his coaching philosophy and help the players continue their brilliant start to the season.”
Brighton have not played since Potter’s departure, with matches against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace postponed following the death of the Queen. With a two-week international break now scheduled, De Zerbi’s first game in charge of Brighton will come against Liverpool at Anfield on October 1.
De Zerbi will take over a Brighton side who are fourth in the Premier League following a bright start to the season which has seen them win four of their six matches. They thrashed Leicester 5-2 in their last game, with their only league defeat this season coming against Fulham on August 30.