Next Brighton manager: Norwegian remains high on shortlist, as promising Italian coach comes into contention

Kjetil Knutsen speaking at a press conference

Reports are springing up with several suggestions for the Brighton managerial vacancy – and Kjetil Knutsen is one name appearing on most shortlists.

Brighton recently lost their head coach, Graham Potter, after he left to replace Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea. His appointment at Stamford Bridge is a reward for the progress he has guided the Seagulls through in recent years.

Potter will be a tough act to follow at the Amex Stadium. But Brighton need to get thinking quickly as to how they will fill the void.

For the time being, Andrew Crofts is in interim charge. But sooner rather than later, a permanent appointment should be made.

According to the Daily Telegraph, there are two leading names in the frame to succeed Potter. Their information suggests Knutsen is competing with Roberto De Zerbi for the vacancy.

Knutsen has built up his reputation in his native Norway as the manager of Bodo/Glimt. They famously beat Jose Mourinho’s Roma 6-1 in last season’s Europa Conference League, before knocking Celtic out of the same competition.

This term, they are in the Europa League. In its group stage, they will soon come up against Arsenal.

But it remains to be seen if Knutsen will be at the helm still, or if he will be taking on clubs like Arsenal as a Premier League manager with Brighton instead.

Interestingly, it is noted that Knutsen now has a better chance of qualifying for a work permit after Norway’s top flight became one of the leagues that earns points for prospective employees of English clubs.

De Zerbi also linked with Brighton vacancy

Also in contention, the report claims, is Roberto De Zerbi. The former Sassuolo head coach recently left his role with Shakhtar Donetsk and is looking for a way back into management.

De Zerbi has turned down the Bologna job out of respect for Sinisa Mihajlovic. Perhaps his next venture could come in English football.

Either way, Brighton want someone who can match their philosophy, which focuses on player development.

According to the Telegraph, Brighton’s process of finding a new manager will commence next week. Chairman Tony Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber and technical director David Weir will all have an input.

Knutsen one of several contenders

Elsewhere, 90min are claiming that Knutsen is competing with Steve Cooper for the Brighton job. Cooper, of course, is currently in charge of Nottingham Forest.

The Telegraph have ruled him out of the running for the Albion job, however. Likewise, they have discarded Celtic supremo Ange Postecoglou due to his commitment in Glasgow.

90min also mention Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Swansea City chief Russell Martin as candidates if Brighton decide to look at options in the EFL, just as they did with Potter back in 2019.

But it appears Knutsen could be the favourite to take charge as things stand. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Brighton to settle on an appointment; time is on their side due to the postponement of Premier League fixtures.

But it will be helpful to get a new leader in as soon as possible to give the squad a sense of direction. Knutsen would be a good option, as would De Zerbi, even if both are relative unknowns for the Premier League.

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