Xavi Hernandez
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Barcelona are unwilling to meet the €15m release clause in Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton & Hove Albion contract and he will have to negotiate a lower fee if he wants to head to Catalonia, a new report in Spain has alleged.

The Catalan giants are on the lookout for a new head coach after Xavi announced his intention to step down at the end of the 2023/24 season.

One of the names linked to the Catalan hot-seat has been De Zerbi, who has overseen remarkable progress at Brighton since joining in September 2022.

However, SPORT report that while Barcelona’s board admire the Italian, the club are reluctant to trigger his €15m release clause. Therefore, he will need to convince Brighton to lower this threshold to sanction an exit.

Xavi Hernandez

Xavi is leaving Barcelona / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

De Zerbi is interested in managing Barcelona but he will not look to force a move from Brighton unless he is certain he is their top target, which has not yet been communicated. Many other managers are vying for the job and agents have been in touch with the club over the vacancy.

90min understands De Zerbi is also on Liverpool’s seven-man shortlist of contenders to succeed Jurgen Klopp, who like Xavi will leave his post at the end of the season.

Brighton have gone from strength to strength under De Zerbi’s management, with the Italian leading them to a club-record sixth-place Premier League finish last season, qualifying for Europe for the first time.

The Seagulls finished top of a Europa League group featuring Ajax, Marseille and Ajax, setting up a last 16 tie with AS Roma. In the Premier League, Brighton currently sit seventh, five points behind Manchester United in sixth place.

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