Could Roberto De Zerbi Be Heading Back to Italy This Summer?

On Saturday, 18th May, one of the worst kept secrets in football was finally broken when Tony Bloom announced that Roberto De Zerbi would be stepping down from his role as Brighton manager following the home game with Manchester United.

The 44-year-old leaves East Sussex with his head held high, following a first season in which his team defied the sports betting odds to finish seventh in the Premier League and qualify for Europe and a second season of consolidation following a series of high-profile departures.

Ultimately De Zerbi’s frustration at the sales of Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Robert Sanchez coupled with the club’s refusal to replace them with readymade stars put him at odds with the club hierarchy. Brighton have their own unique way of doing things and as De Zerbi found out, were not going to change that for anyone.

At the time of writing, Kieran McKenna, Graham Potter and Russell Martin are the three early frontrunners to take over at the Amex but what about De Zerbi? Where will his next move in football take him? Could he return to his native Italy?

Read on to find out.

Four Likely Destinations for Roberto De Zerbi


Never go back. That’s what everyone says when it comes to football management but seemingly that’s a phrase that has yet to enter Italian parlance. In Serie A there is a constant trend of managers returning to their old clubs either looking to recapture lightning in a bottle or right old wrongs.

One manager that failed to do the former was Massimiliano Allegri who won five Scudettos and four Coppa Italia’s with Juventus from 2014-2019. Unfortunately his second spell at the club took in just one trophy, this season’s Coppa Italia which upon winning, he was promptly sacked for “certain behaviours deemed incompatible with the values of Juventus.”

Could De Zerbi be the man the Old Lady look to for a change in fortunes? They could fare much worse in our opinion, especially when you look at the managerial merry go round list of names currently linked with the job.


This is a more difficult job to justify, from both parties. Firstly because we’d wager that the Chelsea hierarchy have no idea what they want from their next manager and secondly, because from De Zerbi’s point of view we think this would be a disastrous move.

The Todd Boehly era at Stamford Bridge has been characterised by high-profile mistake after high-profile mistake and that doesn’t make a good working environment for managers. After finding himself frustrated with the goings on at Brighton, De Zerbi couldn’t then walk into Chelsea with a straight face.

Manchester United

The Red Devils aren’t a well-run club by any stretch of the imagination but in Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Dave Brailsford they have a much more competent looking hierarchy than the one at Stamford Bridge.

With Erik Ten Hag seemingly on his way out what United need right now is a manager with a clear philosophy and style of play to back. If they do that with Roberto De Zerbi they’ll be a lot closer to recapturing the glory days of the Fergie era than at any other time in the last 11 years.

Take a Sabbatical

In 2019 Mauricio Pochettino was the hottest managerial property on the planet. He had just guided Tottenham to an improbable Champions League final and looked likely to have the club challenging for Premier League honours if he received the backing he deserved in the transfer market.

Naturally Daniel Levy and co decided not to back their man and, out of misguided loyalty, Pochettino stuck around in North London until he was eventually fired later that year. His next move after a break out of the game was to basket case club Paris Saint-Germain where he seriously tainted his reputation by not winning Ligue 1 in his first season.

He then somehow followed up that wretched move with another, this time picking Todd Boehly’s Chelsea as his next destination. Why do we tell you all of this? As a cautionary tale of what can happen if a manager makes the wrong choice.

Suddenly you can go from the most wanted manager on the planet to a figure of derision and that’s what could happen to Roberto De Zerbi if he makes the wrong choice this summer. In truth there aren’t really any massively appealing jobs out there barring the Juventus post.

If De Zerbi can’t get that, we’d recommend taking a sabbatical and waiting a few months until some other options open up. That way he won’t waste all of the goodwill that he’s earned from his time at Brighton.