Brighton considering Shakhtar Donetsk players in New Year

Roberto De Zerbi could reunite with some of his former players
Roberto De Zerbi could reunite with some of his former players / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Brighton are considering a number of players at Shakhtar Donetsk, 90min understands, the club where boss Roberto De Zerbi was previously in charge for 14 months until July 2022.

De Zerbi is understood to be very happy with Brighton’s current squad but feels a couple of additions in the January transfer window could secure a top-eight finish for the first time ever.

The centre of defence is one area they would like to bolster. Forward options are also a consideration, although that could depend on whether they lose anyone - in-form Belgian Leandro Trossard is currently attracting a lot of rival attention.

De Zerbi is set to sit down with colleague and good friend Salvatore Monaco, who is now part of Brighton’s recruitment team after previously working together at Shakhtar.

“Salvatore is my friend but he is also one of my more important colleagues,” says De Zerbi. “We speak only one language in terms of football, in terms of players.

“He knows what I need in terms of scouting, quality of the next players. He helped me at Sassuolo, at Shakhtar. At the moment we haven’t spoken about new players.

“In the World Cup period we will have a meeting about the positions we need.”

Both De Zerbi and Monaco are pushing the Brighton hierarchy to take a close look at Shakhtar, who look set to lose a number of big names this January following an impressive Champions League campaign, which saw them finish third in their group.

The real big name at Shakhtar is winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who looks like he could be leaving in a huge January deal, but De Zerbi and Brighton have their eyes on some of his teammates.

One is Mykola Matviyenko, a left-sided central defender who can also play left-back. The 26-year-old has long been linked with a move to England and he still has a lot of admirers in the Premier League with the likes of West Ham, Leicester and Brentford all believed to be maintaining an interest.

De Zerbi and Monaco are believed to be big fans of Matviyenko and despite having a contract until 2025, Shakthar would be open to a sale.

De Zerbi and Monaco have also expressed their belief that forwards Lassina Traore and Tete could be well suited to the Premier League and Brighton.

Traore joined Shakhtar from Ajax in 2021 and impressed when he first arrived in Ukraine. But since De Zerbi left, he has found first-team football more difficult to come by under new coach Igor Jovicevic.

Tete is currently on loan at Lyon, who beat a number of Premier League clubs to land him on loan just after the summer transfer window when FIFA sanctioned out of window moves for some players impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Tete has performed well since moving to France, but the recent appointment of Laurent Blanc has seen the player become unsettled. He is believed to be looking to leave and that has again alerted his English suitors. Lyon are ready to end the loan early, and Brighton are one of those clubs who have been alerted to his possible January availability.