BRIGHTON has confirmed the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi as the new head coach.
The 43-year-old Italian replaces Graham Potter after moving to Chelsea nine days ago.
The Italian has signed a four-year contract and Brighton chairman Tony Bloom is delighted with his arrival.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted that Roberto has agreed to become our new head coach.
“Roberto’s teams play exciting and courageous football, and I’m confident that his style and tactical approach will suit our existing team perfectly.”
Technical Director David Weir added: “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved in Sassuolo certainly stands out.
“During his short spell with Shakhtar he enjoyed further success, leading the club to cup success and top of the Ukrainian league before war abruptly cut short his time there.
“We are delighted to welcome Roberto and look forward to introducing him to our team as well as giving him all the support he needs to introduce his coaching philosophy and help the players continue their brilliant start to the season.”
De Zerbi would have been Brighton’s number one target and the club have not spoken to any other candidates, reports Athleticism.
But the deal has been delayed as Brighton have had to negotiate deals for every member of the Italian’s backroom staff, some of whom need work permits.
Other than that, the deal was straightforward as De Zerbi was without a club after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk following the Russian invasion.
And following meetings with Bloom, Weir and general manager Paul Barber, the Seagulls decided to appoint the former Sassuolo head coach.
De Zerbi exceeded expectations with the Italian side – twice finishing eighth in Serie A and narrowly missing out on Europa Conference League qualification on goal difference with Roma.
He has also guided Shakhtar to the top of the Ukrainian Premier League with a brand of possession-based attacking football that appeals to Brighton’s hierarchy.
Reports have claimed the south coast club are eyeing Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou and Bodo-Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen for similar reasons.
De Zerbi began his managerial career in Serie D at Darfo Boario before joining Foggia, where he won the Coppa Italia Lega Pro – Serie C National Cup.
He then got his chance in the top flight but it only lasted 13 games as Palermo sacked him for picking up just one win and three draws.
But De Zerbi bounced back at Benevento and cemented his reputation with a bold approach at a club doomed for relegation from Serie A, and joined Sassuolo once that season was over.