Ten Hag sack? Prem club ‘would let’ Ratcliffe’s ‘top target’ join Man Utd if their ‘demands are met’

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd boss Ten Hag
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag,

According to reports, Brighton ‘will not stand in the way’ of Manchester United target Robert De Zerbi if he ‘were to have his head turned’.

De Zerbi is fast becoming one of the most sought-after managers in the world as he has been doing an extraordinary job since taking over at Brighton in September 2022.

The respected Italian has won 28 of his 59 games in charge as he helped them finish sixth in the Premier League last season. They are currently eighth in the table and have qualified for the Europa League knockout stages.

The 44-year-old has been linked with Man Utd of late as it is being reported that Erik ten Hag has lost “50% of the dressing room” at Old Trafford. 

Over the weekend, ahead of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover of Man Utd being completed, it was claimed that De Zerbi will be the INEOS chief’s ‘top target’ if he opts to replace Ten Hag. 

Football Insider are now reporting that the Seagulls ‘will not stand in De Zerbi’s way’ if he pushes for an exit, but he is ‘likely to pledge his future’ to the Premier League outfit. The report adds.

‘It is believed that if the Italian were to have his head turned, Brighton would be willing to let him go if their compensation demands are met.

‘The Seagulls have held out for top-bracket fees for several of their top stars in recent years and are ready to do the same with their highly-regarded manager.

‘A well-placed source has told Football Insider that the south coast club would not block De Zerbi from leaving if he felt the time was right for him to move on.

‘It is believed there will be no immediate exit available to the Italian, despite links across Europe, and he is now set to pledge his future to Brighton with a new deal.’

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Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler recently argued that it’s “blindingly obvious” that De Zerbi is the right manager for Man Utd.

“They can’t run the risk of going down the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer route again, even though I think the likes of Michael Carrick and Keiron McKenna have some credentials and obvious Old Trafford connections. They’re just not ready yet though,” Fowler wrote for The Mirror.

“At the same time, the type of candidate they need, a manager with a proven track record over a long period at the top level, is not going to walk away from a big job to join United. Pep Guardiola won’t and neither will Jurgen Klopp. Carlo Ancelotti fits the bill, but he is going to walk away from Madrid to join them? Is he hell.

“So it will have to be a younger manager with a good track record who can step up to the next level. I think Unai Emery has that, and he’s doing a decent job at Villa after winning several European trophies.

“But the blindingly obvious one is Roberto de Zerbi. Many thought it would all collapse this season at Brighton after they lost their two biggest players, and virtually his entire midfield. But if anything, he’s consolidated the club.”

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