Brighton calm about Roberto De Zerbi future amid Real Madrid & Napoli interest

  • De Zerbi has impressed hugely after succeeding Graham Potter as Brighton's head coach
  • 44-year-old Italian counts Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk among former clubs
  • Real Madrid and Napoli taking stock of options as they plan long-term manager

Roberto De Zerbi's work at Brighton has not gone unnoticed
Roberto De Zerbi's work at Brighton has not gone unnoticed / Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Brighton & Hove Albion are keeping calm amid growing interest in head coach Roberto De Zerbi, 90min understands.

The 44-year-old's work at the AMEX Stadium over the past 12 months has received widespread acclaim, with the Italian building on the foundations laid by previous incumbent Graham Potter to guide the Seagulls to a record sixth-place Premier League finish last season.

De Zerbi's side are competing in European competition for the first time as a result - an achievement the former Shakhtar Donetsk boss called "more prestigious than winning the title".

Brighton have continued the momentum in the early weeks of the 2023/24 season, with defeat to West Ham United the only blemish from the club's first six Premier League outings, while they also generated extraordinary profit in the summer transfer window after selling Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo, to Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, for the best part of £150m.

The continued development of players under De Zerbi's management is a standout feature of his time on the south coast, with Brighton's eye-catching possession-based style of play, coupled with a well-organised high intensity press, also garnering significant praise.

90min understands that De Zerbi's progress has not gone unnoticed at some of Europe's biggest clubs. Real Madrid and Napoli are among those taking a keen interest as they do their respective due diligence on future managerial appointments.

Kaoru Mitoma
Brighton are off to a red-hot start in 2023/24 / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

14-time Champions League winners Madrid are expecting Carlo Ancelotti to leave the club at the end of the season, and although club legend Raul, currently head coach at reserve team Castilla, is firm favourite to get the job, De Zerbi and Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso are greatly admired by president Florentino Perez.

Sources have also confirmed to 90min that Napoli, who won a first Serie A title in 33 years last season, are increasingly interested in De Zerbi, as the pressure continues to mount on current boss Rudi Garcia – he's only been in his role since June after Luciano Spalletti opted to resign after Napoli's title win.

Brighton are not worried about losing De Zerbi anytime soon, 90min further understands, and are safe in the knowledge that the contract he signed to succeed Potter in September 2022 still has three years left to run. It is understood, however, that De Zerbi's deal does contain a release clause worth between £10m and £15m.

De Zerbi has overseen 47 games as Brighton's head coach, winning 51%, and guided the club to the semi-finals of last season's FA Cup in addition to his success in the Premier League.