Brighton may have found a strong philosophical match in Roberto de Zerbi

Graham Potter’s loss to Chelsea sparked a revolution in Brighton, but De Zerby’s arrival is proof that they will stick to their philosophy.

The succession decision didn’t take long after all. Brighton & Hove Albion’s new manager is Roberto De Zerbe, formerly of Sassuolo in Italy and Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, and he believes they haven’t even spoken to anyone else about the position created by Graham Potter and his backroom team’s decision to jump ship to Chelsea.

Not surprisingly, De Zerbi would accept such an offer. After all, vacant managerial positions in the top four – even which many think would be fleeting – in the Premier League don’t become available very often. But if there is little doubt about the appeal of this club to this coach, what is the appeal of the manager to the club?

It should be fairly obvious. At Sassuolo, he led the club to a straight eighth place in Serie A, only missing the Europa League qualifiers for Roma in 2021 on goal difference. After moving to Shakhtar in May of that year, he won the Ukrainian Super Cup, and while earlier the league season ended with Russia invading the country, he left with them top of the table, unable to continue his career in that country. He also has a coaching staff in a back room that he can bring with him to the Amex.

But Brighton’s interest was not only driven by results. De Zerbe has become increasingly desirable since he left Shakhtar, and there has been a suggestion that his new employers have moved on as quickly as they did because Juventus were considering hijacking the transfer to replace Massimiliano Allegri after his move. An increasingly poor looking start to the season in Serie A.

Then there is the little matter of philosophy. De Zerbe is known to be such a fervent follower of Pep Guardiola that Guardiola was an occasional visitor to Sassuolo matches while training there. In the past, it was preferred Relies on 4-2-3-1 possession and playing from behind, tempting opponents to press high, hoping to exploit the loopholes left behind. He is also known to be a fan of Marcelo Bielsa.

Moreover, there seems to be something of a philosopher about him, although he has explicitly denied that it was so in the past. He has spoken extensively of other coaches and managers who have shown interest in him, but he has described it – correctly – adding, “In football, the word ‘philosopher’ is used in a pejorative sense.” It doesn’t have to be, of course, and there is little debate that Brighton are a club with values ​​that seem to align closely with theirs.

The stars lined up somewhat to give him a chance to work with his players. Brighton have not played a Premier League game since Potter’s last game, their 5-2 victory over Leicester on 4 September, and they have not played again until their away game against Liverpool at Anfield on 1 October.

There is still less than two of those four weeks left for him to start working with his team, but he’s infinitely better than getting to know he may have no more than 48 or 72 hours to get to know the club and its new players before. It was dropped in the ring milling of premium football.

His initial baptism as their principal seemed to be fiery. Liverpool find themselves at a turning point in their season after a disappointing start in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp will be desperate for the positive reaction from his players to build on their 2-1 win over Ajax in their second group game, a win that partially overshadowed their previous 4-1 defeat to Napoli and an uninspiring draw on Merseyside. Derby. Anfield will be expected.

Then they follow that up with a home match against Tottenham Hotspur Oscillates between looking terrible and looking goodBut the truer test of his progress will come in the next two matches. Brentford remains the Premier League’s closest to Brighton in spirit, with only the head coach in place for some time, and their meeting will be an interesting yardstick for De Zerby’s progress. Then comes Nottingham Forest, … well, Whatever Nottingham Forest is at the moment.

Any new administrative access carries an element of gambling, but Brighton’s approach is systematic, data-driven, and proven to be effective. They soon found a coach who seemed to fit in with the way senior management run the club, and who had a back team capable of joining him, and without disturbing another club’s season.

On top of that, not having to pay compensation to another club to replace Potter means Brighton will come out with all that £20m better than they could have otherwise. Tony Bloom may have made his fortune as a professional gambler, but it seems he wasn’t left to chance in making this date. This hasn’t always worked out before – the mention of Sami Hyppia continues to send goosebumps among fans – but as an established club in the Premier League, Brighton now have even more appeal.

But Brighton has moved quickly and seamlessly to a coach who is in line with their philosophy as a club and has a proven track record of getting what they want to achieve. This kind of strategic planning is why they remain an exemplary club for those looking from below and wondering how they can hope to survive in the Premier League and thrive there.

And while it might be easy to be cynical about a “smaller” club making such a bold choice in terms of gameplay, it seems perfectly counterintuitive to hire a manager who previously showed himself as a game researcher, and who won. It can be said that the best at work is approved.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed in modern football. No such change could He ends up crying, but Bloom will be aware of this and Brighton have given themselves the greatest possible opportunity to pay for Chelsea’s loot outright. They gave themselves a decent hand to play from a very difficult position before making a comeback after the international break. Now it’s up to Roberto De Zerbe to play it as best he can.