ORLANDI SHOCKED BY BRIGHTON AXE
BRIGHTON’S clear-out after the play-off semi-final to Derby defeat began with the manager, but few expected Andrea Orlandi to be among those culled by the Seagulls – least of all the man himself.
Boss Oscar Garcia offered his resignation after the 6-2 aggregate defeat.
But Orlandi was the shock name on a list of six players told they were free to go by the club as they come to terms with a second successive season of play-off heartbreak.
Goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, David Lopez, David Rodriguez, Peter Brezovan and Will Hoskins were the others released, but it is 29-year-old Orlandi who comes as the biggest surprise.
The former Barcelona playmaker, who arrived from Swansea two seasons ago, rushed back from a thigh injury to play in the final four games of the campaign,and he admits it came out of the blue.
“It is hard for me to leave. I wasn’t expecting that,” said Orlandi, who made just 18 appearances this season.
“It has been a decision by the people at the club and you have to respect that.
“There is nothing I can do really now and I will look for a new start.
“I cannot thank the fans enough. I am really sorry this season I haven’t been able to perform as I did before because of injuries.
“Last year was probably the best football I’ve played. I’d always like people to remember me for that more than for my last game.
“I didn’t have anything lined up because we thought Brighton wanted to take up the option.
“I’d love to stay in England but I think there are some options in Spain as well. I don’t close any doors and we will see what happens over the next few weeks.”
There are unlikely to be replacements brought in until a new manager is confirmed, with Tim Sherwood among the favourites to take over at the Amex Stadium.
Sherwood, who was sacked by Tottenham a day after Garcia’s exit was confirmed, appears to be an ideal candidate for Tony Bloom, although the Seagulls chairman remained coy when asked directly.
“I’m not going to talk about any names at all at this stage, or at any stage until we have a manager to talk about,” Bloom said.
“I’m looking at all types of managers, some of which are English and some of which are foreign, some of which have played in this country and some of which haven’t, and some of which have managed in this country.
“In an ideal world they will have played and managed in this country, but if I think the right person is someone who hasn’t then I’ll bring in that person.”
Brighton have offered new deals to Casper Ankergren, Matt Upson and Bruno and taken up the options to extend the stays of Kazenga LuaLua and Brennan Dickenson.
RELEASED: Andrea Orlandi has been let go by Brighton