Exclusive: Tottenham hopes of Brighton raid evaporate with big lessons learned over Arsenal transfer failure
Tottenham’s prospects of luring Roberto Di Zerbi to the club as their next manager look extemely bleak, TEAMtalk can reveal.
The North London club are currently considering their options with Antonio Conte’s time in charge hanging by a thread. Currently back in Italy, Conte angered Spurs by laying into their failures by blaming both their players and owners.
And with his deal due to expire in the summer, there are mounting claims that Conte may not actually ever return to Tottenham.
As a result, chairman Daniel Levy is currently considering a number of potential candidates to become their new manager.
And reports on Saturday now claim ousted former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann is the leading candidate.
However, his appointment is far from cut and dried and Levy has a number of other irons in the fire.
They range from Oliver Glasner of Eintracht Frankfurt to the re-appointment of former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
But they also have strong links towards Brighton boss De Zerbi, following his excellent start to life at the AMEX.
They are through to the FA Cup semi-finals and are also well on course for their highest-ever Premier League finish.
As a result, it is easy to see why clubs higher up the food chain, including Tottenham, are hot on the Italian’s trail.
However, we can reveal that Brighton are unwilling to let their coach leave.
And journalist Ben Jacobs has told TEAMtalk that the Italian himself also looks unlikely to leave for Tottenham just a short time into the role.
Tottenham hopes fade on De Zerbi appointment
“As with any vacancy now in the Premier League for a big club, Roberto De Zerbi will always be named. But Brighton want to hang on to him for as long as they possibly can,” he said.
“He only joined mid-season when Graham Potter left for Chelsea. So I would personally be surprised if De Zerbi leaves Brighton for anybody else whether now or this summer. The Brighton project is moving in the right direction.
“They are on course for their highest-ever Premier League finish and they could qualify for European football. And I think all of that would lend itself to a theory that both Brighton and De Zerbi will not want to part ways.
“The interesting thing about De Zerbi is if Brighton just let him go, then they have allowed two top managers to leave between September last year and potentially as early as late March or early April.
“If you’re a Brighton fan, looking at how many goals they score, looking at how enterprising they are and all of those brilliantly signed players becoming stars, like Ferguson, Mitoma, Mac Allister – then you see that as things go well, there’s constantly a mass exodus, there’s a revolving door of players and managers. It is a little bit unambitious.
“And even if it makes financial sense, Brighton won’t want to be seen to lose two managers in the space of less than nine months.”
READ MORE: Who next for Tottenham as qualities of top candidates are assessed
Brighton learn from Arsenal’s Moises Caicedo failure
Brighton are used to seeing their prized assets sold or lured away for big money.
Indeed, Ben White’s move to Arsenal in 2021 was followed this January by Leandro Trossard.
In between which, Brighton also saw Graham Potter move to Chelsea. And that also followed the £55m sale of Marc Cucurella to the Blues.
However, the reluctance of Brighton to sanction the £70m sale of Moises Caicedo to Arsenal proves they can say ‘no’ when needed.
Now Jacobs reckons lessons from that refusal can be applied to Tottenham interest in De Zerbi.
“Brighton showed with Moises Caicedo over the last window that they were prepared to be bullish. They showed they are not only an automatic selling club and want to keep their star names.
“They handled the Caicedo saga with Arsenal (and Chelsea) expertly. And they managed to get him to sign a new contract straight after the window shut.
“And that, again, is an indication I think that yes, Brighton will do business for the right number. But they’re not going to keep changing manager and style and personnel to the point where it’s detrimental to the development of the football team.
“So with Brighton flying and not having any need to bring in income, and because they’ve already lost Potter this season, I think at this stage De Zerbi wouldn’t go anywhere, even if clubs wanted him.”
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