Brighton have appointed Roberto De Zerbi as their new head coach on a four-year deal.
The Italian has been out of work after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk in July following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He had previously spent three years in charge of Serie A side Sassuolo before leaving for Shakhtar.
De Zebri met chairman Tony Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber and David Weir in London earlier this week and flew to Brighton on Friday before watching a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Amex on Saturday.
Brighton have also agreed deals with De Zebri’s coaching team and hope to have the group in place for their Premier League clash against Liverpool a week on Saturday.
Brighton are currently fourth in the Premier League and have been looking for a new manager since Graham Potter left for Chelsea earlier this month.
Chairman Tony Bloom said: “I am absolutely thrilled Roberto has agreed to become our new head coach. Roberto’s teams play an exciting and courageous brand of football, and I am confident his style and tactical approach will suit our existing squad superbly.”
Technical director David Weir said, “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved at Sassuolo certainly stands out.
“In his short spell with Shakhtar he enjoyed further success, leading the club to cup success and topping the Ukrainian league before the war brought an abrupt halt to his time there.
“We are delighted to welcome Roberto and we look forward to introducing him to our squad as well as providing all the support he needs to introduce his coaching philosophy and help the players continue their brilliant start to the season.”
Deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber added, “We looked at a range of excellent candidates but Roberto was our number one choice from the start and the only person we spoke to.
“It’s no secret our chairman is constantly monitoring potential coaches, both here in our domestic leagues, throughout Europe and across the world as part of our succession planning work.
“We feel Roberto is the ideal cultural and technical fit for Brighton & Hove Albion, and the right person to continue the club’s progress and work with this outstanding group of players.”
The Italian now has two weeks to settle into Brighton and organise his backroom staff with the Premier League players on an international break. He will also be able to meet and work with the players who are not featuring for their countries.
He then starts a busy and testing month in October, starting his reign with a trip to Liverpool on Saturday October 1, before welcoming Tottenham to the Amex in his first home game a week later on Saturday October 8.
De Zerbi and his side are back in action on October 14 with a trip to Brentford, welcoming Nottingham Forest to the south coast four days later.
Saturday October 22 sees Brighton take on Premier League champions Manchester City at the Eithad before an Amex showdown against former manager Graham Potter and Chelsea on Saturday October 29.