Brighton have confirmed the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi as their new manager.
talkSPORT understands the Italian, who succeeds Graham Potter as Seagulls boss, was on the radar of fellow Premier League club Bournemouth.
The 43-year-old made his reputation at Sassuolo with some thrilling football and impressive scalps against Serie A giants during his three-year spell.
He left the team from Emilia-Romagna in 2021 before taking over the reins at Champions League regulars Shakhtar Donetsk, but his stint in Ukraine was cut short by Russia’s invasion of the country.
Seagulls owner Tony Bloom wanted to appoint Potter’s successor before Brighton’s next Premier League game at Liverpool on October 1.
Bloom had seen his side begin their league season brilliantly with four wins and a draw from six matches, but that stability was rocked when manager Potter was targeted by Chelsea.
The Blues moved swiftly to take the Englishman from the AmEx stadium, with Brighton planning on giving midfielder Adam Lallana a player/manager role while they searched for a replacement.
But due to the postponement of their clash with Crystal Palace, Brighton won’t play again for two weeks, and now have a new face in the dugout by the time their next fixture rolls round.
De Zerbi takes over a Brighton side that are currently fourth in the Premier League.
On the announcement of his appointment, Bloom said: “I am absolutely thrilled. 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.”
“This is a real get for Brighton, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” European football expert Andy Brassell told talkSPORT.
“He built something really interesting at Sassuolo which to an extent has provided the backbone of the Italy national team that went on to win Euro 2020, if you look at players like Manuel Locatelli…
“What Brighton are always going to go for is a philosophy coach, a coach that has a way of playing the game. That’s what they needed after Graham Potter.”