Confidant of Man Utd target Roberto De Zerbi reveals Brighton boss ‘said no’ to Euro giants

Lewis Oldham
De Zerbi Brighton
Roberto De Zerbi is leaving Brighton.

Reported Manchester United target Roberto De Zerbi has already turned down a move to a European giant to stick with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Brighton appointed De Zerbi as Graham Potter’s successor in September 2022 after the Englishman moved to Chelsea.

The Premier League outfit were expected to dip after Potter left but De Zerbi managed to take the club to a new level as they finished sixth last season to qualify for the Europa League.

“I am suffering because I’m hungry…”

Brighton finished top of their Europa League group to qualify for the knockout stages but were dumped out of the competition by AS Roma at the round of 16 stage.

They have been seriously impacted by injuries this season as their form in the Premier League has been underwhelming. They are 11th in the table with three games remaining.

Despite this, De Zerbi has been heavily linked with clubs around Europe ahead of the summer and he’s ‘in the frame’ to replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. 

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De Zerbi has admitted that he has been “suffering” this season but he would “like to stay in Brighton”.

“We’re going to speak with Tony,” De Zerbi said in an interview with Sky Sports. “I think I would like to stay in Brighton because I love my players. I love this city. I love my club, my fans.

“I said in the meeting with the fans, if I’m happy, there isn’t any club can bring myself to change a team but I want to keep my passion always.

“I want to be happy because I would like to compete every game with all my potential qualities in the players, the squad, the style of play, the quality of the players and this season, especially in the last three months, we couldn’t do that.”

He added: “I work with all my qualities. I spent a year and a half of my time thinking only about Brighton. We wrote the history of Brighton together. Not the players, not the staff, not the club, but all together.

“I am suffering because I’m hungry. If I think what was my dream before the season, I feel pain. I can’t be angry because I know I’ve done all my energies, the players and the club are the same. We made mistakes, but mistakes are part of football and life.”

Chelsea, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona have also been mooted as potential destinations for De Zerbi.

German Denis – a former teammate of De Zerbi at Napoli – claims the Brighton boss “said no” to Inter Milan last year when Simone Inzaghi’s situation was “in the balance”.

“When it was in the balance. Inter contacted Roberto De Zerbi,” Denis said (via Sport Witness).

“I know for a fact that he said no to the Nerazzurri, because he is a big AC Milan fan.”

Inter Milan will be glad to have stuck with Inzaghi as they have won the Serie A title this season. They are 18 points clear of second-placed AC Milan with three games to go.

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