De Zerbi emerges as prime contender for coaching role

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

Roberto de Zerbi remains the best-placed coach to replace Xavi on the bench.

Roberto de Zerbi remains the top choice to replace Xavi on the bench. He’s not the only option being considered by the Barcelona sports management, but currently, he’s their prime candidate. However, it won’t be an easy task due to the coach’s contractual situation. De Zerbi is under contract with Brighton until 2026. Moreover, the English club aims to extend this commitment with the Italian coach.

According to Luis Rojo of MARCA, talks began back in November, but no agreement has been reached yet. Brighton is pushing for this extension, while De Zerbi, at this moment, is postponing his renewal considering the interest not only from Barcelona but also from other major European clubs. De Zerbi understands that it’s not the right time to rush into a renewal given the circumstances.

Brighton’s main objective in this extension is to increase the coach’s release clause. Currently, it’s set at £10 million, roughly €11.7 million, according to various sources. The club wants to double this amount to make it harder for the coach to leave, although the existing clause is already substantial. The extension being discussed is only for one more season, until 2027. De Zerbi is waiting to see how things unfold. He’s quite content at the English club, enjoying a good relationship with both the players and the sports management. It’s crucial for him to be in a place where he feels comfortable.

However, he also aspires to move to a bigger club. This opportunity arises if the club ultimately confirms him as their choice. Hence, De Zerbi prefers to delay his renewal with Brighton despite the pressure from the English club, aware that in the summer, he could leave the Premier League and join Barcelona.