De Zerbi: The perfect rebound for heartbroken Brighton

De Zerbi: The perfect rebound for heartbroken Brighton

Roberto De Zerbi has joined Brighton & Hove Albion as manager following the departure of Graham Potter to Chelsea. The perfect match? Perhaps.

Chairman Tony Bloom’s remarks about the Italian were definitely meant to make the supporters optimistic about their new dugout leader. "Roberto’s teams play an exciting and courageous brand of football, and I am confident his style and tactical approach will suit our existing squad superbly," At only 43 years of age, De Zerbi is by far one of the most exciting young managers out there. His role model is none other than future rival Pep Guardiola. De Zerbi’s CV and accolades are nothing too impressive, however, it is his ideas and boldness that set him apart. The Brescia born man started from the bottom, less than a year after retiring he took his first coaching job at Serie D side Darfo Boario. He kept working his way up the ladder up until a chance came to coach Palermo in 2016 and be in the top tier of Italian football for the first time. Unfortunately for De Zerbi though, that did not last long and his breakthrough was destined to be postponed. Not for long though, 11 months later he was announced as Serie A first timers Benevento’s manager. Despite failing to keep the humble side in the league, De Zerbi managed to attract some positive attention to his transfer work, but also his mentality and football which exceeded the side’s calibre, one might argue. Nevertheless, the highlight of his career so far has got to be his longest managerial spell of four years at Sassuolo. There he showed off his ideas and had the time and space to experiment. A variation of an attractive, possession-based and attacking 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Finishing at eighth for two consecutive seasons and almost reaching European football if it weren’t for goal difference with Roma ahead. A vertical, bold and positive style striving on the big challenges of the stronger sides in the league. Under De Zerbi, the Neroverdi earned their second-ever top-half Serie A finish, a record-breaking goal return of 69, the most since the club’s arrival to the big league. Moreover, he brought on the likes of Francesco Caputo, Gregoire Defrel and others. Remarkably though it was Domenico Berardi, Manuel Locatelli and Giacomo Raspadori, who will be the most memorable, all players who flourished under his reign and went on to become integral parts of the Italian side that won the most recent European Championship. It was no surprise that who he is and what he has done has impressed Bloom and Chief Executive Paul Barber, especially that he managed to show off a unique knowledge of the football and coaching progress at Brighton under Potter. To add to that, De Zerbi was a free agent, a potential choice for Juventus but nothing too tempting or serious had yet to take place. The Italian had joined Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk for a new adventure after leaving Sassuolo, though his ideas and execution were cut short after the Russian invasion. It might be an exaggeration or undermining to say that he is just an Italian Graham Potter, but similarities are surely in place which is why this might be the perfect match and rebound for the broken Brighton hearts. A developing mind through man management and coaching, a confident and underdog spirit, one striving for innovation and breaking the usual expectations for a club and both managers are in their 40s even, a list of reasons and more as to why De Zerbi and Brighton might just be the most exciting and potentially perfect match. He will be grateful for an already present momentum with a fourth-placed side, four wins and a defeat out of six matches. However, his first month will quickly test him and make his adjustment period not so comfortable; starting off at Anfield, followed by challenging visitors in Spurs, another tough visit with Manchester City before finally ending October against none other than Potter’s Chelsea.

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