'On the shortlist' - Ex-Brighton and Chelsea star sends Roberto De Zerbi exit warning to Albion fans

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Brighton's Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi has impressed in the dugout at the Amex StadiumBrighton's Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi has impressed in the dugout at the Amex Stadium
Brighton's Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi has impressed in the dugout at the Amex Stadium

Former Brighton left back Wayne Bridge believes Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi is a manager destined for the very top.

The 44-year-old Italian has impressed at Brighton since taking over from previous boss Graham Potter, who left for the riches of Chelsea in September 2022.

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Last term De Zerbi – who previously managed at Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk – guided Brighton to a record sixth in the Premier League and qualified for the Europa League for the first time in their history. The Seagulls were also a whisker away from a Wembley FA Cup final as they were knocked out on penalties by Man United in the semis.

This season, despite losing their two best midfielders Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, Brighton have continued their upward trajectory. They are currently eighth in the Premier League, they qualified for the Europa League knockout stages by topping a group that included Ajax, Marseille and AEK Athens and are also into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

It’s been all the more impressive as Brighton sustained a huge number of injuries this season but De Zerbi has continued to find solutions and they continue to play in manner that is great to watch.

Bridge, who won 36 caps for England and played for Brighton, Southampton Chelsea and Man City, has been seriously impressed by De Zerbi and feels the big clubs will be watching his progress closely.

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“It won’t surprise me at all if bigger clubs are looking at Roberto De Zerbi right now and if he’s on their shortlists for a new manager,” he said to www.betvictor.com. “That’s definitely something Brighton are going to have to watch out for as they continue to do well under De Zerbi, as he’s doing such a great job.

“He’s come in and done a fantastic job for Brighton. You can’t fault anything he’s done at the club. I love watching Brighton play under him. There’s an atmosphere around the club that’s been great, it’s just a great feeling around Brighton at the moment and around the way the club is playing football, which De Zerbi has played a key part in.”

The Seagulls are currently in Dubai for warm weather training and restart their Premier League campaign against Wolves on January 22. The fourth round tie of the FA Cup is at Sheffield United on January 27 and their Europa League campaign in the round of 16 resumes on March 7, the draw for which is February 23.

Bridge added: “Brighton have a chance of winning the Europa League this season as well, but it’s going to be difficult as there’s some really good teams in the knockout stages of the competition. They’ve done brilliantly to reach the knockouts but there’s still a long way to go.”