BRIGHTON have confirmed the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi as their new head coach.
The Italian, 43, replaces Graham Potter following his move to Chelsea nine days ago.
The Italian has signed a four-year deal and Brighton chairman Tony Bloom is excited by his arrival.
He said: “I am absolutely thrilled Roberto has agreed to become our new head coach.
“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.”
Technical director David Weir added: “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved at Sassuolo certainly stands out.
“In his short spell with Shakhtar he enjoyed further success, leading the club to cup success and topping the Ukrainian league before the war brought an abrupt halt to his time there.
“We are delighted to welcome Roberto and we look forward to introducing him to our squad as well as providing all the support he needs to introduce his coaching philosophy and help the players continue their brilliant start to the season.”
De Zerbi was reportedly Brighton’s number one target and the club did not speak to any other candidates, report The Athletic.
But the deal was delayed as Brighton had to negotiate deals for each member of the Italian’s backroom staff, some of whom require work permits.
Most read in Football
Other than that the deal has been straightforward as De Zerbi was without a club after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk following the Russian invasion.
And following meetings with Bloom, Weir and chief executive Paul Barber, the Seagulls have decided to appoint the former Sassuolo head coach.
De Zerbi overachieved with the Italian side – twice finishing eighth in Serie A and narrowly missing out on qualification to the Europa Conference League on goal difference to Roma.
He also guided Shakhtar to the top of the Ukrainian Premier League with a brand of possession-based attacking football that appeals to the Brighton hierarchy
Reports claimed the south coast club were eyeing Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou and Bodo-Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen for similar reasons.
De Zerbi started his managerial career at Serie D side Darfo Boario before joining Foggia, where he won the Coppa Italia Lega Pro – Serie C’s domestic cup.
He then got his shot at the top flight but it lasted just 13 games as Palermo sacked him for picking up just one win and three draws.
But De Zerbi bounced back at Benevento and enhanced his reputation with a bold approach at a club that was destined for relegation from Serie A, and joined Sassuolo once that season came to an end.