BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi before the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Roberto De Zerbi says new Brighton contract NOT imminent – “Want to keep my ambition”

Roberto De Zerbi has emerged as one of the contenders to replace Jurgen Klopp in the summer, and he divulged his future on Saturday, saying a new Brighton contract is not currently on the cards.

The Italian is in contention to be the next Liverpool manager, but Bayern Munich are also known admirers as they seek a replacement for Thomas Tuchel this summer.

De Zerbi is currently contracted to Brighton until 2026 and reportedly has a release in the region of £12 million, similar to what has recently been claimed of new frontrunner Ruben Amorim.

With plenty of speculation regarding his future, De Zerbi was quizzed by the media on Saturday over a potential new contract at the AMEX.

He said: “At the moment, no [not possible to sign a new contract].

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi embrace before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We didn’t find agreement, but it’s only part of it. The big part is the plan (for the club).

“I need to speak to Tony Bloom (owner and chairman) about the plan for the club in order to decide my future, I want to know what is the project. I want to keep my ambition.

“My relationship with my players and the fans can’t change depending on the future. What we have done is history and no one can forget it.”

The decision is understandable considering the interest in his services from the likes of Liverpool and Bayern, and assurances over Brighton‘s future will be of significance to De Zerbi.

There’s mixed views from a Liverpool perspective over his suitability, which may be in line with Klopp’s recent comments.

Klopp praised the Italian when he spoke to the media on Friday, though acknowledged how he could not coach the style of play that De Zerbi asks of his team.

Klopp said: “The way they play. It’s a really different way; I couldn’t coach that, it goes against my personality, but it’s a good watch.

“It’s very demanding for the players, clear positioning, pass in the right moment. He’s a top coach, he’s doing really well.

“It’s super interesting to see and I like watching them, to be honest. That makes it tricky.”

As for Brighton‘s upcoming visit to Anfield, De Zerbi confirmed he will be without James Milner, Joao Pedro, Julio Enciso and Billy Gilmour, in addition to long-term absentees Solly March and Kaoru Mitoma.