Roberto De Zerbi to leave role as Brighton manager

Roberto De Zerbi is to leave Brighton after Sunday’s final match of the season against Manchester United.

The 44-year-old Italian, who has been linked with a number of high-profile jobs including United and Bayern Munich, joined Albion in September 2022 after Graham Potter left for Chelsea and enjoyed immediate success, taking the club to their highest-ever finish of sixth.

That secured a campaign in this season’s Europa League, where Brighton lost to Roma in the last 16. They sit 10th in the Premier League going in to the final day, but form has been poor this year, including a recent run of six matches without a win.

Brighton had been making contingency plans for the possibility of De Zerbi leaving, and are likely to be among several clubs taking an interest in the Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna.

“I am very sad to be leaving Brighton,” De Zerbi said in a statement. “But I am also very proud of what my players and staff have achieved with the support of everyone at the club and our amazing fans in the past two historical seasons.

“We have agreed to end my time at Brighton so that the club and I can continue to work in the way that suits each of us best, following our own ideas and visions, as well as our work and human values.

De Zerbi guided the Seagulls to the Europa League last 16.

“I have really enjoyed an intense and challenging two years working in the Premier League, not least competing in four major competitions this season. Leaving now provides me with time to take a break before deciding on my future plans.”

There has been considerable speculation about the 44-year-old’s future for some time. Asked in March about his position and the prospect of signing a new deal, he said: “We didn’t find the agreement … we have to speak with the club.”

Brighton’s owner, Tony Bloom, said De Zerbi had “given us two excellent seasons of service in which he has led the club to new heights, not least our first ever European campaign.

“We have mutually agreed to end Roberto’s contract at a time that suits both parties allowing us the earliest opportunity to plan for next season, and Roberto plenty of time to consider his next move and his future.

“I am sure our fans will give Roberto and his staff a wonderful and fully-deserved send off at the Amex before, during and after tomorrow’s match. In the meantime, I’d like to thank Roberto and his staff for all their hard work in the past two seasons.”

De Zerbi’s staff, Andrea Maldera, Ricard Segarra, Marcattilio Marcattilii, Vincenzo Teresa, Agostino Tibaudi, Marcello Quinto and Enrico Venturelli, will also leave the club.

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