Brighton and Hove Albion boss regrets striker’s move to Arsenal
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi said that he regrets the way the past few weeks have unfolded with Leandro Trossard.
But De Zerbi is confident that Brighton can cope without the outgoing forward who is expected to join Premier League leaders Arsenal imminently.
Trossard has not played for the Seagulls since their 4-2 defeat against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve and the PA news agency understands that he is on the verge of sealing a deal to join the Gunners.
He was dropped before last weekend’s match against Liverpool, having left training early without permission, and his agent urged co-operation for a switch which would be “beneficial for both parties”.
While the Belgium international has bagged seven league goals this season, Brighton have won all three games without Trossard in the ranks.
Their most recent win, a 3-0 victory at home to Liverpool last Saturday (14 January), lifted the Seagulls up to seventh in the top flight.
De Zerbi said that he was resigned to the imminent departure of Trossard to Arsenal, with a deal agreed worth £21 million plus add-ons, but the Brighton head coach insisted that his side would get by without the 28-year-old star.
At a press conference before Albion travel to Leicester, De Zerbi said: “The situation was difficult because I understood he wanted to leave.
“I’m sorry for the last period because I prefer when people are clear, not when there is some different behaviours. But we will see. I think we are a good team. We can play well with Leo or without Leo.”
De Zerbi, who will be without Levi Colwill at the King Power Stadium tomorrow (Saturday 21 January) because of a muscular problem, was non-committal when asked whether Brighton would try to replace Trossard in this transfer window.
He said: “I think in the transfer market window, you always can improve, always you can buy new players. But we are at a good level now. The players in the squad are vey good players.
“It’s not so easy to improve this squad. But I think (owner) Tony (Bloom) and the club, if it is the possibility to improve the squad, I think we will do something.”
Moises Caicedo is another Brighton player who has been the subject of transfer talk but De Zerbi said that a summer switch was more likely for the Ecuador midfielder, who has been linked with Chelsea.
De Zerbi said: “Caicedo is very important for us. It’s difficult to change with another player now inside of the season. I hope he finishes the season with us but in the transfer market it is always difficult to give one answer.
“When there are some big teams (and) they want one of our players, it’s good news for us. The best solution is he can finish the season with us, and for him, then in the summer it’s better if he changes teams.”
Brighton could move up to fifth with victory over the Foxes and, having never finished higher than ninth in the top flight, there are high hopes of sealing a place in Europe next season.
De Zerbi added: “We are progressing but I think we are around 60 per cent of our potential right now. We can keep improving a lot. I don’t know if top six is possible but we are trying.”
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.
And don't forget to sign up to our email newsletter, bringing you the week's biggest stories every Thursday.