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Roberto De Zerbi addresses Brighton future amid Liverpool, Manchester United links

De Zerbi addresses Brighton future amid Liverpool, Man Utd links
© Reuters
Roberto De Zerbi addresses his future at Brighton & Hove Albion amid reported interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Roberto De Zerbi has insisted that he remains "100%" focused on his job at Brighton & Hove Albion amid reported interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Italian is widely regarded as one of Europe's brightest young coaches, receiving plaudits for his attractive brand of football and ability to work with young players since replacing Graham Potter as Seagulls head coach in September 2022.

Brighton secured Europa League qualification for the first time in their history last season under the tutelage of De Zerbi, courtesy of a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.

This term, the Seagulls continue to compete in the top half of the table and challenge for the European spots, currently sitting in seventh place, while they have also progressed to the Europa League last 16 where they will face Roma over two legs.

At the end of last year, De Zerbi confirmed that he is in talks with Brighton over extending his contract beyond June 2026.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi applauds fans after the match on November 9, 2023© Reuters

Nevertheless, recent reports have suggested that Brighton are braced for the possible departure of the 44-year-old at the end of the season amid interest from several top European clubs.

Football Insider claims that De Zerbi has emerged as a 'very strong contender' to replace Erik ten Hag as Man United manager and is regarded as a 'standout candidate' by club chiefs including new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Both Liverpool and Barcelona have also been credited with an interest in De Zerbi as they draw up a list of potential successors to Jurgen Klopp and Xavi respectively, who will be vacating their posts at the end of the season.

Bayern Munich are the latest European giants to be linked with De Zerbi, who is believed to have been identified as a possible alternative to primary target Xabi Alonso – also wanted by Liverpool – as they continue their hunt to find a replacement for outgoing boss Thomas Tuchel.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi before the match on August 12, 2023© Reuters

De Zerbi has since addressed the speculation about his future and has reiterated his focus on his current job at Brighton.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday ahead of Brighton's Premier League trip to Fulham on Saturday, De Zerbi said: "I have only Brighton in my head. I would like to finish the season in the best way with our young players – to compete and win as many games as we can."

When pushed on whether he will remain as Brighton boss for next season, the Italian added: "Yes, I have a contract. I have decided nothing. My focus is on Brighton – 100%."

Earlier this month, De Zerbi admitted that he was both 'honoured' and 'proud' to learn of interest from other clubs, but he reiterated his plan to "write another part" in Brighton's history.

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