Brighton ‘expected to move’ for Man Utd target as De Zerbi exit sees players ‘consider future’

Jason Soutar
Brighton: Kieran McKenna has become the top choice to replace Roberto De Zerbi
Kieran McKenna has become the top choice to replace Roberto De Zerbi

Premier League club Brighton will reportedly pursue Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna following the shock departure of Roberto De Zerbi.

Brighton confirmed in a statement on Saturday that they have “mutually agreed” to part ways with De Zerbi at the end of 2023/24.

This means the Italian’s final match in charge of the south coast club will be the Premier League clash at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

“I am very sad to be leaving Brighton, but I am 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,” De Zerbi said in a statement.

“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.

“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.”

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De Zerbi has been linked with a host of clubs in recent months, including German giants Bayern Munich.

It is unclear where he will move after a successful stint at the Amex, but it looks like Brighton have made Ipswich boss McKenna their top priority.

The Northern Irishman has done an outstanding job at Portman Road, earning back-to-back promotions which means the Tractor Boys will be playing top-flight football for the first time in 22 years next season.

The wonderful work he has done means several top clubs are interested in appointing him.

And in the most Brighton move ever, they want McKenna to replace De Zerbi, according to The Telegraph.

It is said that the Seagulls are ‘expected to make a move’ for the promising coach but could face competition from Manchester United – where the 38-year-old worked as assistant manager between July 2018 and December 2021, when he took over at Ipswich.

Brighton are ‘huge admirers of McKenna’ but it is unclear if he is interested in leaving Ipswich so soon after guiding them back to the Premier League.

The report adds that should McKenna leave, Town will target Luton Town boss Rob Edwards.

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Another manager Brighton are looking at is Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick, though the former Man Utd midfielder is expected to sign a new contract at Boro.

It is also claimed that De Zerbi’s exit could have a big effect on the playing squad as ‘the Italian was hugely popular with many members of his squad’.

‘Some of Brighton’s players will consider their own futures’ following the decision to split with De Zerbi, the report claims.

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