Brighton consider youngest PL managerial appointment after Potter rejection?

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Brighton consider youngest PL managerial appointment after Potter rejection?

Brighton & Hove Albion reportedly identify a 31-year-old manager as a potential successor to Roberto De Zerbi after failing to persuade Graham Potter to return to the club.

Brighton & Hove Albion have reportedly identified a 31-year-old manager as a potential successor to Roberto De Zerbi.

The Seagulls mutually agreed to part ways with De Zerbi at the end of last season following an 11th-placed finish in the Premier League.

De Zerbi spent just under two years in charge at Brighton and memorably steered the club to their highest-ever Premier League finish in 2022-23, securing European football for the first time in the club’s history.

Seagulls chairman and owner Tony Bloom, and technical director David Weir are now on the lookout for a new head coach and a sensational return for Graham Potter has been mooted.

The 49-year-old was most recently in charge of Chelsea, where he was sacked in March last year after just seven months in the Stamford Bridge hotseat, and he has since allegedly held talks over a possible return to Brighton, where he spent just over three years at the helm.

© Reuters

Brighton identify Hurzeler after Potter snub

However, according to multiple reports, including one from The Sun, Potter has decided to snub a return to the Amex Stadium as he does not feel it is right for him at this moment in time.

Instead, Brighton could turn their attention to 31-year-old coach Fabian Hurzeler, with The Telegraph reporting that he has surprisingly made the Seagulls’ final shortlist of targets to replace De Zerbi.

Hurzeler was born in the USA, but he is the son of a Swiss father and German mother, and his brief playing career in the lower divisions of German football ended at the age of just 23.

He was then appointed St Pauli‘s youngest-ever head coach in 2022, aged 29, and when he turned 30 was awarded his UEFA Pro Licence last April.

Hurzeler has won 36 of his 55 games in charge of St Pauli and successfully guided the club to promotion to the Bundesliga last season after 13 years away from the top flight.

If Brighton were to appoint Hurzeler, who has been compared to 36-year-old Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann, he would become the youngest manager in Premier League history.

Brighton & Hove Albion's James Milner, Joao Pedro and Carlos Baleba celebrate after the match on December 14, 2023© Reuters

Malmo boss also on Brighton’s radar

Another name said to be on Brighton’s final managerial shortlist is Malmo head coach Henrik Rydstrom, who has successfully adopted a similar playing philosophy popularised by Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola during his time in Sweden.

The 48-year-old won the Swedish top-flight title in his first season at Malmo in 2023 and his side have since made a strong defence of their crown in 2024, as they already sit seven points clear at the top of the table after 13 games.

Rydstrom, who has won 39 of his 54 matches in charge of Malmo, has been linked with a possible switch to Brighton at a time when he has less than seven months remaining on his contract.

It is understood that Brighton’s pursuit of both Rydstrom and Hurzeler has been held up due to doubts over whether that can obtain a work permit for either coach.

The Seagulls are also said to be determined to take their time over making the right managerial appointment, after previously failing in their move for Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, who opted to extend his contract with the newly-promoted Premier League club.

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