The De Zerbi Saga: From Brighton to Barcelona

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Only four months to go for Xavi to step down as FC Barcelona's manager and alternate names for his succession just keep coming. The latest among the reports is Italian manager Roberto De Zerbi, who is believed to be one of the major candidates to succeed Xavi at the Catalan capital.

Barcelona are going for him even though the Brighton man has an ongoing contract with The Seagulls till 2026. This speaks a lot regarding his ability as a gaffer. The former AC Milan midfielder arrived at Brighton in 2022 and has helped them reach the RO16 of the Europa League this season.

Thriving in Europe with a mid-table team is no easy feat, and Barça is looking forward to replicate this success on a much larger scale. Although, signing the Italian won't be a simple task as De Zerbi's release clause is said to be set around £10 million-£15 million.

The Competition to sign De Zerbi

Not only is the Brighton manager a financial uncertainty, but the competition for his signature only makes it harder. English giants Liverpool FC are also on the lookout to replace their manager Jürgen Klopp, who will also be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, De Zerbi is also on The Red's priority list, who are going all out for the Italian manager. Liverpool isn't the only club The Catalans need to look out for, but Brighton itself is a big competitor in the race.

According to Marca, The Seagulls have offered Roberto a contract extension which will double the Italian's release clause. This means after the extension, De Zerbi's release clause might fall anywhere between £20 million-£30 million.

The good news is that the Lombard has put the extension on-hold since November. This shows that the Brescian is weighing in his options and might be open to leave. But, the financial burden still remains for FC Barcelona.