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Brighton coach De Zerbi not distracted by job speculatio­n

- Reuters London

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi is fully focused on matters on the pitch amid speculatio­n about his future, he said. The 44-yearold Italian, who replaced Graham Potter at Brighton in 2022, has been linked with soon-tobe-vacant jobs at top European clubs including Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool.

Bayern’s Thomas Tuchel, Barca’s Xavi Hernandez and Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp are set to leave step down at the end of the season.

“I am still proud to be coach at Brighton,” De Zerbi told reporters. “I know I am really lucky to work with these players, to work with this club. I’d like to compete with a full squad but I try to play with the players available and I think they are enough.”

De Zerbi’s contract with Brighton expires in 2026. The former coach of Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk and Serie A’s Sassuolo said last week that he would speak to Brighton’s owners before making a decision.

“It’s (future) not a problem, it’s a part of my work. At the moment I want to be focused and to keep my eyes on the target we have. I have the contract at the moment. The focus is on the pitch,” he said. “I’m very relaxed. The problems are the injured players and the preparatio­ns for the next game. These are the problems not the contract or my future.”

Brighton, ninth in the Premier League with nine games left, visit 15-placed Brentford today.


Meanwhile, Brighton posted a Premier League record £122.8mn ($155mn) profit after tax last season thanks to the club’s best ever season on the pitch and a series of lucrative player sales. The Seagulls qualified for Europe for the first time by finishing sixth in the Premier League and also reached the FA Cup semi-finals to help revenue rise to £204.5mn.

That was despite losing manager Graham Potter to Chelsea, who also signed Marc Cucurella from Brighton for a reported £60mn. Yves Bissouma’s move to Tottenham and Alexis Mac Allister’s transfer to Liverpool contribute­d to Brighton’s £144mn gain on player sales. The figures for the 12 months to June 30, 2023 do not include Moises Caicedo’s British transfer record £115mn move to Chelsea as it came after the accounting period.

The club also announced highly-rated chief executive Paul Barber has signed a new contract until 2030. “These accounts will of course catch the eye, because of the headline number,” Barber said in a club statement. “In a season when we made history on the pitch we took a huge step forward in terms of the club’s long-held aim of becoming more sustainabl­e and less reliant on (owner) Tony Bloom’s incredibly generous levels of investment.”

The interest free loan owed to boyhood Brighton fan and profession­al gambler Bloom, who also owns Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise, has been reduced £406.5mn to £373.3mn.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has been linked with taking over at Liverpool and Bayern Munich next season. But Barber said Brighton remain ambitious to get back into Europe and winning the club’s first ever major trophy. “The dream is to be regularly challengin­g for a European place and for silverware. We are very proud of Roberto, the work he and his staff have done, and of course the performanc­e levels of our squad,” he said.

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