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Brighton’s De Zerbi emerges as top pick for Barcelona Coach

Roberto De Zerbi / Getty Images
Roberto De Zerbi / Getty Images

Roberto De Zerbi has been chosen to be Barcelona’s new coach.

Right now, there’s a name that has received unanimous approval from all members of the Sports Commission. According to Javi Miguel of AS, his name is Roberto De Zerbi. The Italian coach from Brighton has the support of Joan Laporta and Deco to be Xavi Hernandez’s replacement next season. In fact, the coach’s representatives, Edmundo Kabchi and Edoardo Cnajr, met with the sports director this Wednesday for over three hours in Barcelona. While it’s true that the reason for the meeting, as reported in the media, was to lay the groundwork for the renewal of Ronald Araújo, it’s also true that there was extensive discussion about the possibility of De Zerbi landing in Barcelona.

The main obstacle to closing the deal is the coach’s release clause, set at around ten million euros. It’s a sum that gives the club pause, but the agents asked for some patience to reach an agreement with the English club. Barcelona assured De Zerbi’s agents that if they manage to overcome this obstacle, the Brighton coach will take over the reins of the first team from July 1st.

The sports management considers De Zerbi the natural heir of the Blaugrana DNA, further endorsed by Pep Guardiola himself. “Brighton is the team that builds the game best in the world. There is no better team when it comes to progressing with the ball from the goalkeeper to the final third,” confessed the Santpedor native at the beginning of the season. A statement that hasn’t gone unnoticed within the club, which has closely followed the steps of the young Italian coac. Additionally, De Zerbi has shown no hesitation in betting on young talent, as demonstrated by demanding the arrival of Ansu Fati at the club.

All these factors open the doors to FC Barcelona for De Zerbi, provided he reaches an agreement to leave the English club. It’s worth noting that De Zerbi has a contract until 2026, so negotiations are expected to be tough and complicated. What’s clear is that the list of candidates to coach Barcelona has substantially reduced for one reason or another in recent days. Whether because they were discarded from the beginning (Rafa Márquez and Thiago Motta) or because they publicly ruled themselves out (Alguacil, Míchel, and Arteta) or because they are considered impossible dreams (Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp), the list has practically been reduced to two names: Roberto De Zerbi and Hansi Flick.

The German coach also has many supporters within the club, although there isn’t the same unanimity as with De Zerbi. With Flick, it’s highlighted that he was the architect of Bayern Munich’s sextuple, which crushed Barcelona in the Champions League and that his style of play is very similar to the Blaugrana, both in his approach and his performance on the field. Additionally, he has the advantage that negotiations would be very fast as he is currently unemployed after his failure with the German national team. However, in recent hours, the shadow of the Bavarian club has appeared, which could be considering Flick as a possible replacement for Thomas Tuchel on the Bayern bench.

Be that as it may, De Zerbi’s name currently has more supporters within the club. However, it remains to be seen if the coach’s agents are able to untangle a situation that seems very complex at first glance: a contract until 2026 and a release clause of 10 million euros. The last coach who had a release clause to sign for Barcelona was Xavi, who paid five million to Al Sadd to fulfill his lifelong dream. We’ll see how many sacrifices De Zerbi is willing to make to coach FC Barcelona.