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Roberto De Zerbi’s departure from Brighton is the only solution due to irreconcilable differences

Roberto De Zerbi’s departure from Brighton & Hove Albion comes down to one central issue.

There are irreconcilable differences between the head coach and owner-chairman Tony Bloom over how the club should operate in the transfer market.

Bloom will not budge on the principles that have served him so well thus far. De Zerbi is just as determined about what he feels he needs to maintain his progress.

So Brighton lose the enigmatic and animated Italian who guided them to Europe for the first time, while retaining control of the structure that created the environment for De Zerbi to take them there.

Generally speaking, the players recruited by Brighton fall into two distinct categories.

Young people around the world, from teens to 23 years old, are identified through a combination of Bloom’s unique global database and the club’s screening network at a relatively low cost. The idea is that they can be developed and improved to the point where their resale value multiplies.

The team is full of examples, such as Kaoru Mitoma (Japan), Simon Adingra (Ivory Coast), Julio Enciso (Paraguay) and Evan Ferguson (Republic of Ireland).

The other group is made up of players in their 30s with top clubs, trophies and medals on their CVs, such as Danny Welbeck, James Milner and Adam Lallana (who is leaving after four years). Not so far from their peak, they still can’t make a significant contribution on the field, but at the same time, they bring seriousness into the locker room to help educate these young players.

De Zerbi wants more players in these categories. Players in their 20s and early 30s with established records, who cost more in transfer fees, wages or both. They just don’t fit the Brighton model.

Two deals in the last two transfer windows strike at the heart of the split. Last summer, De Zerbi pushed for the signing of Mahmoud Dahoud, a then 27-year-old central midfielder, transferred for free but on a high salary from Borussia Dortmund.

Bloom, somewhat reluctantly, approved the deal. De Zerbi was in a strong position, having led the club to sixth place in the Premier League and qualification for the Europa League, only to lose Moises Caicedo to Chelsea for a British record package of £115 million (146 million), and Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool for a fee which, with add-ons, could reach £56 million.


Roberto De Zerbi and Tony Bloom disagree on transfer strategy (Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

Dahoud’s decision did not work. He started nine matches in the first half of the season before returning to the Bundesliga in January on loan to Stuttgart with a view to making the move permanent. That won’t happen – he only made one start for Stuttgart.

Now let’s move on to the January window. Bloom’s strategy is to avoid mid-season panic moves, preferring to focus during the winter window on signings for the future.

Brighton’s main move was capturing 19-year-old Argentinian left-back Valentin Barco from Boca Juniors for less than £8 million. De Zerbi did not believe Barco was ready for the Premier League and he would have been loaned out if not for a persistent injury crisis which plagued the club throughout the campaign. In two starts and four substitute appearances, Barco has demonstrated glimpses of rich potential.

De Zerbi deserves a bit of a break. From his point of view, Brighton had dominated a tough Europa League group including Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens to reach the knockout stages of the Europa League. They had qualified for the fifth round of the FA Cup before the January window closed and were in contention to qualify for Europe again via a high league ranking, despite the sales of Caicedo and Mac Allister, as well as a paralyzing medium- and long-term toll. -the long-term injuries suffered by several key players.

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He wanted more help in January, even though it was made clear to him upon his appointment in September 2022 that this was how the club operated in the transfer market. As far as Bloom was concerned, there was no room for compromise, not after Dahoud and, to a lesser extent, after also granting De Zerbi’s wish this summer with the signing of central defender Igor Julio from Fiorentina for 17 million, plus £17 million. 3 million add-ons.

Although the 26-year-old Brazilian has done quite well in 32 appearances, he is another example of a player who doesn’t really fit the club’s recruitment model.

Since January, De Zerbi has made candid remarks in some of his press conferences regarding the club’s January transfer business. This has coincided with the 44-year-old being linked with other jobs, but also a run of five wins in 18 games in all competitions, including last 16 eliminations from the Europa League and the FA Cup. They also dropped out of the competition to reach Europe again via their league ranking.

Although Bloom did not appreciate De Zerbi going public with his criticism, it was the contrasting attitudes that continued in private over what should be done in the summer transfer window that prompted a split, with the club announcing on Saturday afternoon that De Zerbi would be leaving after Sunday’s closing match at home to Manchester United.

De Zerbi is a brilliant manager who has taken Brighton to a new level with daring and sophisticated play from the back. He will have no shortage of admirers and he could well flourish in a bigger club with a recruitment strategy better suited to his expectations.

He will be a very difficult actor to follow, but Bloom will probably have known for some time who he has in mind to replace him. It’s better to have a clean break now than another transfer window where the head coach and club aren’t on the same page.

(Top photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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