'I'm sorry' - Roberto De Zerbi may already know first Chelsea transfer

Roberto De Zerbi speaks with Mauricio Pochettino
-Credit: (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

A potential appointment of Roberto De Zerbi as Chelsea manager would be bad news for goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, who has history with the Italian.

The former Brighton boss is currently the bookmakers’ favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino. De Zerbi is reported to be on a shortlist of four managers, alongside Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca and Thomas Frank, being considered by Chelsea as their search for a new boss continues.

De Zerbi is the only one of the four currently unemployed, having left Brighton at the end of the season. It is reported that part of his agreement with Brighton means that any club who employs him will have to pay €10 million (£8.6m), although that is down from the €15 million (£12.8) release clause that was in his contract.

If Chelsea do opt for De Zerbi, then they could expect to see a change in goal for the coming season, if previous years are anything to go by. Current first choice Robert Sanchez joined Chelsea from Brighton last summer for a fee of £25 million.

Before moving to Stamford Bridge, he had lost his place in the Brighton team under De Zerbi. Explaining his decision following Sanchez’s move, the then Brighton boss said: "I’m sorry for the last period.

"Robert is a good guy and a really good player, but being a coach sometimes means making difficult and painful decisions for the team. I wish him good luck for the future.”

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Sanchez himself then sent a subtle dig at De Zerbi when talking about working under Pochettino. “I've missed the opportunity to work with a coach of that level,” he said, “Obviously, [you can] watch him on his past clubs what he's done.”

The past between the two means that it will be no surprise to see Chelsea dip into the transfer market for a new goalkeeper in the summer transfer window if De Zerbi is appointed. The Blues have been linked with an interest in Burnley and England U21 goalkeeper James Trafford, with the club reportedly readying a £20 million bid.