Brighton & Hove Albion are facing a battle to retain coach Roberto De Zerbi amidst interest from a host of Serie A clubs, including Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter. The Italian tactician only took over in September last year but his impressive start has seen his stock rise immensely.
According to the Daily Mail, De Zerbi has caught the attention of some of Serie A‘s top clubs, with Inter considering him as a successor to Simone Inzaghi should the ex-Lazio coach depart this summer. Having taken Brighton to seventh place in the Premier League, and being on the cusp of European qualification, De Zerbi has impressed the hierarchy at the Nerazzurri.
Elsewhere, Milan‘s disappointing title defence this term could see the champions dispense with Stefano Pioli, and it is thought that the Rossoneri’s young squad could be well suited to De Zerbi‘s style.
Similarly, Massimiliano Allegri‘s future at Juventus is far from certain after they were hit with a 15-point penalty for capital gains fraud, and it is reported that the Bianconeri have been monitoring De Zerbi since 2020. In addition, AS Roma are also being linked with him amidst alleged interest from Paris Saint-Germain in Jose Mourinho.
Serie A clubs priced out
Meanwhile, the 43-year-old’s excellent work at Brighton since replacing Chelsea-bound Graham Potter earlier in the campaign has drawn the attention of fellow Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, according to The Telegraph. The North Londoners are sounding out replacements for Antonio Conte should he depart in the summer, and De Zerbi is thought to be a leading candidate.
Whilst De Zerbi is high on the list of targets for a wide array of clubs in his homeland, a stumbling block for his suitors could prove to be the release clause in his Brighton contract, set at £11.5 million (€13.08m), and he has another three years to run on it.
The Seagulls have shown themselves to be tough negotiators, as witnessed in the sales of Ben White and Marc Cucurella over the past two seasons, to Arsenal and Chelsea respectively. It is not thought that they would be willing to part with De Zerbi for anything less than his release clause, potentially putting him out of reach of the likes of Milan, Inter, and Roma.
De Zerbi made his name in Serie A in three spectacular seasons at Sassuolo, from 2018 until 2021, as he guided the Neroverdi to 11th, before consecutive eighth place finishes in his final two years.
Playing an exciting brand of attacking football, Sassuolo became a favourite of the neutral for their style and substance and De Zerbi was considered one of the brightest coaching prospects in Serie A.
It earned him a move to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2021, but the outbreak of war in Ukraine last year saw his tenure cut short before he was able to make his mark on the club.