Brighton’s top talents may move on before European challenge – Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi accepts that some of Brighton’s top talents may not be part of his Seagulls set-up when they take on Europe for the first time next season.
Albion guaranteed themselves at least the Europa Conference League with Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League victory over Southampton, though sixth place and the Europa League are also all-but assured.
What remains less certain are the futures of multiple men who helped make history at the Amex, with Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo among the names linked with summer transfers.
De Zerbi said: “Now we have to organise, we have to build a new squad. We have to organise the new season. We have to finish before, OK, but then we have to organise and we have to build a new squad.
“I think we don’t need too many players but we have to compete in the Europa League. We have to compete in the Premier League because it will be tougher for sure for us.
“I think we will lose some big players, but it’s right, no? Because they deserve to play for other targets in another team, but we have to be ready to bring in other big players with the policy of the club.
“We have to arrive ready to compete in four competitions.”
According to some reports, World Cup winner Mac Allister, who joined Albion in January 2019 on a four-and-a-half-year deal, has already principally agreed a move to Liverpool.
Brighton CEO Paul Barber, however, was quick to dismiss those rumours, telling talkSPORT: “If I lost sleep over every report that I read about one of our players doing that, then I wouldn’t be sleeping very much at all.
“At the moment he’s focused on doing what he can for us in our final two games of the season. We’ve got a massive game here against Manchester City on Wednesday and then we go to Villa Park on Sunday to complete what has been a fantastic season for us.
“I saw him down on the pitch looking very happy and obviously we’d love him to be here next season.
“We know that there are going to be a lot of clubs, not just in this country but around Europe, around the world that are going to be wanting Alexis to play for them.
“But at the moment he is wearing blue and white stripes and I’m delighted about that.”
Southampton boss Ruben Selles was also looking ahead to his club’s future, though what happens to him after the conclusion of the campaign is unclear.
Selles’ agreement also expires at the end of the season, with Swansea boss Russell Martin rumoured to replace him.
The Spaniard handed academy prospects Kamari Doyle and Dom Ballard their league debuts in the relegated Saints’ penultimate Premier League contest, with just Liverpool at St Mary’s left to play.
He said: “I’m looking ahead to what can I do if I’m here or not. And that’s why I can give our players that are coming from the academy all the way into the first team.
“I can get players that are ready to go and perform for the first team and even if it’s some minutes today or against Liverpool, that is a big step for their careers and they just keep the door open for them.”
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