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De Zerbi: Five potential destinations for outgoing Brighton manager

Roberto De Zerbi will leave Brighton at the end of the season, and while his impending exit is not exactly a shock, the timing of the announcement was certainly surprising. 

The Italian has been linked with a host of top managerial posts after guiding the Seagulls to their best ever Premier League finish and taking them to the knockout rounds of the Uefa Europa League.

As the past few months have worn on, though, the 44-year-old was passed over or not considered for some of these vacancies, and it seemed likely he might spend at least another season on the south coast of England.

 

However, the situation behind the scenes began to strain when De Zerbi started openly criticising the club’s ambition and business strategy from January onwards. Perhaps it was inevitable there would be a split sooner rather than later.

The former Shakhtar Donetsk boss says he wants to take a break before deciding his next move, but there will be clubs out there eager to get him in their dugout ahead of next season.

We’ve looked at some possible future destinations for De Zerbi, in alphabetical order, as he prepares for the next phase of his coaching career.

Five top clubs De Zerbi could potentially sign for:

AC Milan

Roberto De Zerbi has a personal connection with AC Milan, as he spent time in their youth academy when he was a player, although he never made a senior appearance.

During his first season at Brighton he said he “would and will return, hopefully in the future” to Italy, which could open the door to the main job at the soon-to-be demolished San Siro.

Stefano Pioli is set to vacate the position at the end of the season, despite finishing second in Serie A. De Zerbi could be the ideal man to take the Rossoneri to the next level.

 

However, he has been critical of the club in the past, specifically when they tried to form the breakaway European Super League.

He even went as far to say “I don’t like to play against Milan because they are part of these three clubs (along with Inter and Juventus)… I am so angry I spoke about this with the lads for 30 minutes yesterday.”

Is it all water under the bridge three years on?

De Zerbi announces Brighton exit

Barcelona

Roberto De Zerbi and Barcelona seemed like they would make a fine match given his attractive, possession-based approach to the game.

Cold water was poured over the possibility of him rocking up to Catalunya after Xavi Hernandez did a U-turn on his decision to resign as manager at the end of the season.

In a dramatic turn of events, Xavi could indeed be on the way out after all following comments he made on Barcelona’s economic situation during the week. Club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco reportedly did not take it well.

The former midfielder says his relationship with the Barça hierarchy remains solid, but one has to wonder if he is on the chopping block. De Zerbi will be one of the first names on their list of replacements if so.

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Bayern Munich

We have rarely seen such a disastrous attempt a manager than Bayern Munich‘s over the past few months. To recap: they announced that Thomas Tuchel would leave at the end of the campaign, were subsequently rejected by Xabi Alonso, Julian Nagelsmann and even Ralf Rangnick, and turned back to Tuchel.

The German coach insisted on a new contract, which the club refused, so he will still be leaving when his contract expires. What a mess.

Sporting director Max Eberl has been widely reported to be a big admirer of De Zerbi, but conflicting reports have emerged since the news of the Italian’s forthcoming departure dropped. The Times claim there have already been talks, while Sky Sports Germany insist it won’t happen.

Watch this space.

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Juventus

The absolutely chaotic scenes following the conclusion of this week’s Coppa Italia final mean Juventus are unexpectedly on the lookout for a new manager.

Max Allegri was sent off in stoppage of their 1-0 win over Atalanta for whipping off his jacket and confronting the fourth official. He also reportedly furiously confronted a journalist after the game.

De Zerbi would be a breath of fresh air at a club that has underperformed in recent seasons, and he was linked with the Old Lady just this month.

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Man Utd

With Erik ten Hag likely to be pushed out the door at Old Trafford next season, Sir Jim Ratcliffe could do worse than make De Zerbi his first managerial appointment.

Manchester United are at ground zero in terms of their rebuilding phase. Most of the squad needs to be turned over, and a young manager with fresh ideas and a lot of ambition could be the perfect fit.

The fact the Red Devils won’t have to pay a release clause, which was believed to be fairly hefty, is a major bonus.

Read – The best young managers in world football right now

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