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Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi to leave club

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Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi is to leave the club after their final game of the season against Manchester United on Sunday.

In a statement, he said: “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.

“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.”

The Italian joined Brighton in September 2022 after Graham Potter left for Chelsea and enjoyed immediate success, taking the club to their highest-ever top-flight finish of sixth.

That secured a campaign in this season’s Europa League and saw de Zerbi linked with a number of high-profile jobs.

Brighton and de Zerbi made the last 16 of the Europa League, while they sit 10th in the Premier League with a game to go.

A win against Manchester United at Brighton’s home ground, the American Express Stadium, will keep them in 10th place. A loss or draw could mean they drop down to 11th.

While news of his departure may come as a shock to some, there has been considerable speculation about the 44-year-old’s future for some time.

Asked in March about his position and the prospect of signing a new deal, he said: “We didn’t find the agreement. The contract is a part of the future. It’s important for me, it’s important for everyone but it’s a small part, the big part is the plan. We have to speak with the club.”

The Italian would be seen by many as a strong candidate to take over at Manchester United if current Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag is sacked following a disappointing season.

De Zerbi has also been linked with the soon-to-be vacant manager role at German giants Bayern Munich.

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Image:
De Zerbi shakes hands with Brighton forward Danny Welbeck. Pic: AP

Brighton owner Tony Bloom has said that the club’s parting of ways with de Zerbi is a mutual decision.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“I am sure our fans will give Roberto and his staff a wonderful and fully deserved send off at the Amex before, during and after tomorrow’s match.

“In the meantime, I’d like to thank Roberto and his staff for all their hard work in the past two seasons. They all leave our club on good terms and with our very best wishes for the future.”

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