Brighton & Hove Albion have reportedly scheduled a meeting with Roberto De Zerbi to hold talks over becoming the club’s new head coach.
Following the departure of Graham Potter to Chelsea, the Seagulls have begun the process of finding a replacement, with Under-21s boss Andrew Crofts currently in interim charge.
Several managers have been linked with the vacancy at the Amex Stadium, and 43-year-old De Zerbi has emerged as the latest name who is believed to be under consideration by Brighton’s hierarchy.
According to Sportitalia CEO Michele Cristicitello, who is a life-long friend of De Zerbi, Brighton have scheduled a meeting with the Italian this week to hold discussions over their managerial vacancy.
Cristicitello claims that De Zerbi has been in direct contact with the Seagulls and he would be interested in replacing Potter on the South Coast.
Speaking to The Argus, Cristicitello said: “He is watching all of Brighton’s matches. If the club confirmed concrete interest, he would accept to come.”
De Zerbi allegedly admires the attitude and mentality of the Brighton players and has been keeping tabs on the club’s progress.
The Brescia-born coach has been out of work since he decided to leave Shakhtar Donetsk in July following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
De Zerbi was only in charge for 30 matches across all competitions, but he managed to steer them to 20 victories during his short spell and won the Ukrainian Super Cup.
Prior to his managerial role with Shakhtar, De Zerbi spent three years in charge of Serie A outfit Sassuolo, who he led to two successive eighth-place finishes in the Italian top flight in 2019-20 and 2020-21, narrowly missing out on European qualification on both occasions.
De Zerbi, who was known for his attractive brand of football during his time at Sassuolo, has also had spells in charge of fellow Italian sides Darfo Boario, Foggia, Palermo and Benevento.
The Italian is not the only name under consideration by Brighton, however, as Bodo/Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen is currently the bookmakers’ favourite to be named as Potter’s successor.
Knutsen, 53, guided the Norwegian side to their first-ever Eliteserien title in 2020 before they successfully defended their crown the following year.
The likes of Celtic‘s Ange Postecoglou, Nottingham Forest‘s Steve Cooper and Luton Town‘s Nathan Jones are also believed to be on Brighton’s radar.
Brighton will not be rushed into making an appointment as they now have three weeks before their next match away at Liverpool in the Premier League on October 1, following the postponement of the M23 derby against Crystal Palace as well as the upcoming international break at the end of this month.