Brighton: ‘Youngest manager in Premier League history’ now ‘set to replace’ De Zerbi

Jason Soutar
Incoming Brighton head coach Fabian Hurzeler during an interview
Incoming Brighton head coach Fabian Hurzeler during an interview

Brighton are closing in on the appointment of FC St. Pauli’s 31-year-old head coach Fabian Hurzeler, according to reports.

The Houston-born head coach guided St. Pauli to the Bundesliga in his first full season at the club, ending the club’s 13-year absence from the German top flight.

Assistant manager between August 2020 and December 2022, Hurzeler took caretaker charge of the German outfit for two weeks before earning the gig full-time.

He has clearly done an outstanding job and that has not gone unnoticed at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

And in the most Brighton move possible, Hurzeler is on course to replace Roberto De Zerbi at the Amex.

The Seagulls have been looking for a new boss since May 18 after it was announced De Zerbi would be stepping down at the end of 2023/24.

The Italian inspired Albion’s first-ever European campaign, losing in the last 16 of the Europa League to Serie A side AS Roma.

Brighton’s form in the second half of the season was extremely disappointing but De Zerbi has been linked with a host of top jobs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.

Despite a poor end to the season, Hurzeler has big shoes to fill and according to The Athletic correspondent David Ornstein, the 31-year-old has been granted a work permit to complete a move to Brighton.

A move to the south coast would make Hurzeler ‘the youngest permanent head coach to have managed in the Premier League’.

Having been granted a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) work permit, Hurzeler ‘is now set to replace De Zerbi’.

Ornstein adds that Brighton had ‘considered re-appointing Graham Potter’, while Ipswich Town’s highly-rated boss Kieran McKenna was also a target following De Zerbi’s decision to leave.

Potter has been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea in April 2023.

The 49-year-old took charge of 149 competitive Brighton matches between May 2019 and September 2022, overseeing a very successful spell at the Amex.

Potter has been linked with several jobs in recent months, including Ajax, but it has been reported that he is holding out for the England job should Gareth Southgate depart.

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