Why is Roberto De Zerbi leaving Brighton for Marseille?

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 14 Jun 2024 15:00 BST
  • 4 min read
Roberto Di Zerbi, Marseille, 2024

Roberto De Zerbi’s impending move to Marseille from Brighton is likely to go down as one of the great shocks of the summer transfer window.

It was only a matter of months ago that the Italian was being touted for some of the biggest jobs around Europe. Manchester United, Chelsea and even Barcelona were being touted as possible destinations for the 45-year-old, yet it appears he will wind at up Stade Velodrome with OM.

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According to the latest reports, he is on the verge of signing a three-year deal, with Marseille only needing to trigger a release clause worth around €5-6 million to Brighton.

How has it come to this?

READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano transfer news: Olise BOMB, Greenwood at Man Utd OVER, De Zerbi SHOCK

’Furious desire’

Firstly, it should be pointed out that while Marseille do not fall into the same category of club as Man Utd, Liverpool Chelsea or Barcelona, this is still a coveted role.

There are few cities anywhere in Europe where a club is as fervently supported as OM, so for a character like De Zerbi, who is evidently passionate about the game, the opportunity to immerse himself into the footballing culture of the Mediterranean city is an enticing one.

The weather is excellent, the lifestyle is good and Marseille are supported by a full house of nearly 70,000 fans on a weekly basis.

So, he has the opportunity to become a hero in a city that reveres its footballing stars like few others.

READ MORE: Premier League summer transfers 2024: All the Done Deals

De Zerbi was linked with a string of big jobs only a matter of weeks ago
© IMAGO - De Zerbi was linked with a string of big jobs only a matter of weeks ago

While even the local media appear to be relatively puzzled about what might have attracted such an in-demand manager to Marseille, the sheer enthusiasm by which the club is supported appears to have been a driving factor.

La Provence states: “It is rumoured he has a furious desire to experience the Velodrome and its incredible atmosphere on the Marseille bench after having tasted it with Brighton last autumn. So the 12th man can even have a role to play during the transfer window. That’s what’s OM is all about!”

RMC reports that it was even De Zerbi who instigated talks with the club.

Man Utd also had a part to play. With the news that Erik ten Hag was staying at Old Trafford, L’Equipe reports that talks accelerated between Marseille an De Zerbi, who announced in May his intention to leave Brighton.

OM have even got the Italian to drop his salary demands from €10m per year to €6m.

De Zerbi’s stock has fallen

But doubts have emerged over De Zerbi, too.

Brighton fell away badly in the second half of the Premier League season. Although they controlled possession, they gave up chances at an alarming rate and De Zerbi was unable to convert ball dominance into total dominance.

Often Brighton were sterile, controlling the ball but struggling to create chances. It is a problem the coach will have to solve if he is to become a favourite in Marseille – and if he is to eventually land one of the coveted jobs he was linked with only a matter of months ago.

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