Speaking at a press conference attended by Get French Football News, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi revealed that he once had the opportunity to become manager of Olympique de Marseille. This was before the two sides face off in Group B of the Europa League at the Vélodrome on Thursday evening (kick-off 18:45 local time).
“Yes it is true, there was the possibility to come here [to Marseille] and for me it was a dream solution but we didn’t find an agreement with the club. I felt sorry about it because the stadium and these fans would have been a big motivation for me.”
“But now for me personally it was better that I found another big team, with a big stadium, and I’m currently having a great experience with Brighton.”
“The club reminds me a bit of Napoli when I was there as a player, in terms of the passion of the fans and the stadium,” said De Zerbi later in the press conference when talking about the Ligue 1 side.
L’Équipe reported back in August 2022 that De Zerbi failed to reach an agreement on terms of joining the club as OM were searching to replace the departed Jorge Sampaoli. His run in the Champions League with Shaktar and the amount of goals conceded from his side was also reportedly a worry of the Marseille hierachy at the time.
De Zerbi signed for Brighton over a month later following the departure of Graham Potter to Chelsea. Meanwhile, Marseille ended up opting for the fiery Croate Igor Tudor, who left the job after one season in charge of the Olympiens citing physical and mental fatigue. Spaniard Marcelino held the reigns for just three months at the start of this season, before a fellow countryman of De Zerbi, Gennaro Gattuso, was appointed several weeks ago.
GFFN | George Boxall