Brighton will step up their efforts to recruit Graham Potter’s replacement as head coach in the coming days after assessing a shortlist of potential candidates that includes the Norwegian Kjetil Knutsen and the former Shakhtar Donetsk manager Roberto De Zerbi.
The Brighton owner, Tony Bloom, met the chief executive, Paul Barber, and the technical director, David Weir, this week to discuss their options, with the Lens manager, Franck Haise, understood to be another under consideration.
Knutsen – the Norwegian who has led Bodø/Glimt to successive league titles – is the bookmakers’ favourite to take over at the Amex Stadium and it is believed Brighton could make a formal approach to speak to him in the coming days.
Reports in Italy said Brighton will also hold talks with De Zerbi this week; the 43-year-old is out of work having left Shakhtar in July after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Italian previously managed Sassuolo to consecutive eighth-placed finishes in Serie A.
Haise guided Lens to promotion in 2020 as a caretaker before being handed the role permanently. They are two points off Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 having gone seven matches unbeaten so far this season.
Barber said on Monday the postponement of Brighton’s match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, which means they do not play again until the trip to Anfield on 1 October, has given them some time to make a decision. But he acknowledged they need to act quickly after Potter’s departure to Chelsea last week along with five of his staff including the assistant Billy Reid and first-team coaches Björn Hamberg and Bruno.
“We are working through our list,” said Barber. “We’re not in a huge rush. One of the fortunate positions we find ourselves in is the break, that gives us a little bit more time after six or seven games of the season.
“That in itself is a small advantage, but it’s not something that means we will take our foot off the gas, it means we will work hard on the processes we follow.”