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De Zerbi casts doubt over Brighton future

Roberto De Zerbi has cast doubt over his Brighton future by refusing to commit to the Seagulls for next season – and revealing he wants to have talks with club owner Tony Bloom about his next steps.

The Italian manager, who took Brighton to European football for the first time this season, has been strongly linked to the soon-to-be-vacant positions at Liverpool and Bayern Munich, after Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso committed to the Bundesliga leaders on Friday.

De Zerbi will take his Brighton side to Liverpool on Super Sunday in a match billed as a potential audition for the 44-year-old to become Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

Asked if he could reassure Brighton fans that he will be at the club next season, De Zerbi replied: “I have a different way to decide my future.

“I want to speak with my club, I have a contract but the problem is not the contract – the problem is to find the same plan, the same target, the same vision for the future.

“For me, I have not decided yet what is my future, because I have the contract, but anyway I want to speak with Tony (Bloom), my club, to understand their plan, to understand his plan, the Tony plan. Then we take the decision together, without problems.

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“My relationship with my players, my fans, I think it can’t change depending on the future. What we did is history and we can’t forget it.

“The future I want to keep my ambition, my motivation, I live for football 24 hours a day, I want to know what is the plan, what is the project, what is the future because if I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t feel the right motivation, I can’t stay any longer.”

De Zerbi was then asked if he would sign a new contract at Brighton, he replied: “At the moment, no.

“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.”

‘De Zerbi ticks a lot of Liverpool’s boxes’

Credit - AP Photo/Getty

Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:

Roberto De Zerbi has tactical acumen and ability to outperform his budget – Brighton have the second-lowest wage bill in the league but post possession-domination data that resembles the all-conquering Manchester City.

While Brighton largely are a contrast to Liverpool’s directness, Alexis Mac Allister, Adam Lallana and James Milner will provide testimony that De Zerbi can fuse the Merseysiders’ dynamism with more control.

There will be question marks over defensive numbers and how his temperament would stack up in a more pressured, demanding environment, but De Zerbi ticks a lot of the main boxes.

He outperforms resources, has a magnetic personality, plays the kind of football that draws applause from other managers and improves players.

Are Liverpool daring enough to hire De Zerbi?

The style with which Roberto De Zerbi has established Brighton in the top half of the Premier League table, this season and last, demands that the 44-year-old coach be considered for the biggest jobs. This weekend, live on Super Sunday, he takes the stage for what could be his Anfield audition.

Pep Guardiola has called De Zerbi “one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years” because of his brand of football. The three-time Champions League-winning coach said: “There is no team playing the way they play. It is unique.”

With De Zerbi, there is an unusual trajectory in his career path though. Big clubs have not come knocking. Yet.

When Sam Allardyce and Sean Dyche took unfashionable teams into the upper reaches of the Premier League, the concern was that their approach would not be ambitious enough for the very best.

In De Zerbi’s case, could it be too ambitious for cautious owners?

Read the full feature from Sky Sports’ Adam Bate and Lewis Jones here…

Sky News
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