Brighton are set to face a summer battle to hold on to Roberto De Zerbi – less than a year after appointing the Italian as Graham Potter’s successor.
De Zerbi has done a superb job at Brighton, continuing Potter’s fine work and taking the club to seventh place in the Premier League table and battling for European qualification.
The 43-year-old has already been linked with Tottenham Hotspur should Antonio Conte leave the London club at the end of the season. But Brighton do not just run the risk of facing interest from the Premier League, as De Zerbi is believed to have captured the attention of Italy’s top clubs.
Sources in Italy believe Roma, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus could all decide or be forced to change their managers in the summer, and De Zerbi would be considered by all four clubs, having previously impressed in Serie A with Benevento and Sassuolo before moving to Shakhtar Donetsk, where he won the Ukrainian Super Cup.
De Zerbi, who reports in Italy have claimed has an £11.5million release clause in his Brighton contract, is understood to have been frustrated by the fact he could not sign more players in the January transfer window to boost the club’s bid for Europe.
And De Zerbi faces losing midfielder Moises Caicedo, who was the subject of rejected bids from Chelsea and Arsenal in January, at the end of the season.
Brighton lost at home to Fulham at the weekend and De Zerbi’s anger boiled over as he was sent off in the tunnel after the game for complaining to referee Darren England about a meeting regarding officiating.
While the club will be desperate to keep De Zerbi, Brighton allowed Potter to speak to Chelsea and eventually leave after the Blues agreed to pay his release clause, rather than trying to hold him against his will.