Roberto De Zerbi has confirmed that he is in talks with Brighton & Hove Albion over extending his contract at the club despite reported interest from Real Madrid and Manchester United.
The 44-year-old succeeded Graham Potter in September 2022 and he successfully steered to the Seagulls to Europa League qualification for the first time in the club's history last season, courtesy of a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Brighton currently sit eighth in the top-flight standings and have already qualified for the Europa League knockout rounds with one group game to spare, but speculation over De Zerbi's long-term future at the club has surfaced in recent weeks.
A recent report claims that La Liga giants Real Madrid have identified De Zerbi as one of the frontrunners to succeed Italian compatriot Carlo Ancelotti, who is expected to become the new Brazil boss in the summer of 2024.
Brighton CEO Paul Barber admitted last month that the club is "prepared" for the departure of De Zerbi as they have drawn up a "small list" of coaches in the event that the Italian seeks pastures new.
However, both Real Madrid and Man United have suffered a major blow in their pursuit of De Zerbi as the Brighton boss has revealed that he is in negotiations with the club over a new contract.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash at home against Brentford, De Zerbi said: "I feel very well in Brighton I have a great relationship with the players, with the club, with Tony [Bloom], with Paul Barber, David Weir and everybody who works in Brighton.
"Yes, we are speaking about the new contract, but at the moment we are speaking, it's not done yet. I usually work to be happy and to enjoy and I feel very good in Brighton."
"In the end, we have to analyse the target," De Zerbi added. "If the targets are the same as the club's, it is an honour for me working in Brighton.
"I don't try to reach the higher level, the most important for me is working seriously, work with a good team, good players. But, anyway, it is important for me to fix an important target."
De Zerbi, who will see his current contract expire in June 2026, was recognised at Tuttosport's Golden Boy Awards on Monday as the Italian was named the Best European Coach for 2023.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk and Sassuolo boss is now focused fully on his 60th game in charge of Brighton against Brentford on Wednesday, and in his previous 59, he has won 28, drawn 12 and lost 19 across all competitions, with his teams scoring 125 goals in the process.