Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has admitted that he doesn’t know whether reported Liverpool target Alexis Mac Allister will stay at his club.
Mac Allister has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield ahead of the summer transfer window. According to a report from journalist Fabrizio Romano this week, the deal is as much as 90% done.
Given that he’s one of Brighton’s best players, this speculation was put to De Zerbi in his latest press conference. Also asked about fellow reported Liverpool target Moises Caciedo, the manager was surprisingly frank in his answer.
“When I work, I think for myself, I think for my club – but I think still for the players,” he said via BBC Sport. “The players have one career, one life and we can’t decide for them.”
Asked whether tonight’s game with Manchester City could be the last time the highly-rated pair play for Brighton at the Amex Stadium, De Zerbi was again very honest.
“It can be the last game but I don’t know,” said the Italian. “They can have the possibility to change [clubs] because they deserve to play in another level. I don’t know what Tony [Bloom, Brighton owner] can decide. But now we can offer them the possibility to play in Europe because our level is bigger now. We can offer them one possibility more.”
Mac Allister readying Brighton exit
This is refreshing to hear from De Zerbi. Regardless of whether it’s Liverpool who are interested in one of his players, it’s nice to hear a manager be so open in relation to his player’s futures.
A lot of coaches would have shut down any talk of his star performers leaving. But De Zerbi clearly wants the best for them, and if that’s to move on, then so be it.
It must be said that this is in pretty stark contrast to the way Brighton themselves usually do business. As seen in the sales of the likes of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea last summer, they’ll remain bullish up until the last.
Some fans will remember how they famously put out a statement as Chelsea pursued Cucurella. After reports emerged that a transfer had been agreed, the Seagulls went out of their way to publicly inform everyone that it hadn’t. The Spaniard inevitably signed as a Chelsea player days later.
In regards to Mac Allister, it seems that Brighton will be more-or-less powerless to stopping him from leaving. There may or may not be a definite release clause in the Argentine’s contract, but there is a clear agreement between all parties that he can leave this summer. A fee to the tune of £65m has been mooted.
Renege on that and Brighton will be in big trouble with the player, his camp and perhaps other players and future signings.
So, all things considered it looks virtually certain that Mac Allister in particular will be on his way out. That he rocks up at Liverpool looks very likely, but we’ll have to wait and see. As for Caciedo, pay the £100m entry fee, and he’s yours. We think we might pass, thank you.