Brighton announce Roberto De Zerbi as new head coach on four-year deal

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Roberto De Zerbi has been appointed as Brighton’s new head coach.

The 43-year-old Italian was most recently in charge at Shakhtar Donetsk but left the club in July because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

He has signed a four-year contract with the Seagulls, subject to a work permit, and was announced on Sunday evening as the successor to Graham Potter, who departed for Chelsea earlier this month.

De Zerbi earned rave reviews for his style of football during a three-year tenure at Sassuolo, leading them to two eighth-place finishes in Serie A, and he won last year’s Ukrainian Super Cup with Shakhtar.

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Brighton owner Tony Bloom said: “I am absolutely thrilled. 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.”

De Zerbi met with Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber and technical director David Weir in London earlier this week and flew into Sussex on Friday night before watching a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

As a mark of respect to the Queen, De Zerbi will not be formally introduced to the media until Tuesday afternoon.

Weir said: “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved at Sassuolo certainly stands out.

“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.”

De Zerbi is set to bring his coaching staff with him after Brighton revealed contracts have been agreed although they will all require work permits, which the club hope will be granted ahead of their next fixture against Liverpool on October 1.

Barber, who is also deputy chairman, said: “We looked at a range of excellent candidates but Roberto was our number one choice from the start and the only person we spoke to.

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“It’s no secret our chairman is constantly monitoring potential coaches, both here in our domestic leagues, throughout Europe and across the world as part of our succession planning work.

“We feel Roberto is the ideal cultural and technical fit for Brighton & Hove Albion, and the right person to continue the club’s progress and work with this outstanding group of players.”

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