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Brighton Premier League Odds: Seagulls 12/1 to finish in top four under Fabian Hürzeler

Fabian Hürzeler is set to become the youngest manager in Premier League history with reports indicating he will take the reins at Brighton & Hove Albion.

In a protracted recruitment search for Roberto De Zerbi's successor, former boss Graham Potter was favourite for the vacancy before he ruled himself out of the running, which then saw Hürzeler move to the head of the market until betting was suspended.

Hürzeler, who turned 31 in February, has been lauded by German press for the work he’s undertaken at St.Pauli, having guided the Hamburg club to the 2. Bundesliga title in his first full season.

It’s an enormous step from the German second division to the Premier League, but Chairman Tony Bloom has forged a reputation for reaping the rewards of his bold, data-driven processes.

Brighton are 12/1 to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League under Hürzeler, while those anticipating a difficult tenure for the German can find a price of 20/1 for the Seagulls to be relegated.

We’ve taken a look at what Hürzeler will offer on the Sussex coast.

Brighton 2024/25 Premier League odds

(Odds will display when market is available)

Style of play

Importantly, Hürzeler’s style fits Brighton’s identity, which was to be expected of a club that are calculated and meticulous in their planning.

Comparisons have been drawn between Hürzeler and former Seagulls manager De Zerbi, with both preferring to implement a 3-4-3 formation. Other admirers have likened him to Germany’s national team manager Julian Nagelsmann for his exhaustive preparation and fine attention to detail.

Appointed head coach in December 2022, Hürzeler transformed St. Pauli into a ball-dominant outfit in a matter of weeks and achieved the results to boot.

The 10 wins from his first 10 league matches – which set a new club record – were indicative of a playing squad that had bought into Hürzeler’s ideas.

Possession is imperative to their game plan and when the team is without the ball, the Houston-born tactician encourages a concerted press, with a focus on positional play and overloading in key areas.

Ultimately, like how De Zerbi’s Brighton approached fixtures, they intend to pass the opposition to death, but they can vary their tempo smartly.

Where the Seagulls’ defensive frailties were frequently exposed in De Zerbi’s system, Hürzeler’s St. Pauli boasted the best defensive record in the division as they achieved promotion.

Six 2. Bundesliga outfits scored more than the Kiezkicker over the course of the 2023/24 campaign, but they did register the most attempts on goal with an xG of 1.50 per 90 minutes.

His team play with a high intensity and cover a lot of distance; the 122.24km covered in each game by St. Pauli last year was by far and away the highest of their rivals.

Given Brighton’s poor luck with injuries last term, it will be interesting to see if Hürzeler can demand a similar intensity without suffering the consequences of a depleted squad.

Player development

It’s worth reminding that St. Pauli were mired in relegation trouble when Hürzeler inherited managerial duties in the 2022/23 season.

The World Cup break aided his cause but St. Pauli would accrue 41 points from their remaining 17 matches under Hürzeler. They had only mustered 17 points from their previous 17 fixtures.

An integral feature in the club’s success was the development of individuals under Hürzeler’s tutelage, with former Bolton and Solihull Moors forward Dapo Afolayan one of many to flourish at the Millerntor Stadion.

Afolayan was the subject of transfer speculation at the time of Hürzeler’s appointment, but after one meeting where the new boss outlined his vision to transform the forward into an inverted winger, Afolayan bought into the project. A return of 10 goals and three assists last term showcased his improvement.

What is arguably most impressive about Hürzeler’s work is that players of all ages and varying abilities have developed. Nomadic midfielder Eric Smith won his first call-up for Sweden, while Elias Saad, who joined the club from Germany’s fourth tier, is now a Tunisian international.

While some figures in the British media have been sceptical of a manager at his age, the 31-year-old believes his youthfulness is an advantage when it comes to forming bonds with the players.

Influential captain Jackson Irvine is a month Hürzeler’s junior and yet the similarity in age has had no bearing on their working relationship.

“I’m on their level and I want to convince them through ideas, through my hard work,” Hürzeler said in the early stages of his reign.

With the likes of Pascal Groß, Joel Veltman, James Milner and Danny Welbeck in the Brighton camp, Hürzeler’s first task is to get the seniors on board.

Connection with supporters

Performances and results will ultimately define how quickly Hürzeler endears himself to the Brighton fanbase but his passionate personality will certainly help to get supporters on board.

At St. Pauli, Hürzeler succeeded Timo Schultz, a club hero and a popular figure on the terraces of the Millerntor.

The nature of Schultz’s dismissal prompted discontent among Kiezkicker fans, but their dissatisfaction soon evaporated when Hürzeler orchestrated a 10-match winning streak.

St. Pauli is an organisation for the people and Hürzeler embraced the responsibility of the club’s importance to the community.

He does have a fiery disposition that has landed him in hot water with the officials on multiple occasions; St. Pauli supporters love it, the Brighton hierarchy may not be impressed.

Whether he wears his heart on his sleeve in the Premier League or not, a fascinating story is set to unfold at the Amex.

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