Former Shakhtar Donetsk and Sassuolo manager Roberto de Zerbi has been appointed manager of Brighton.

The 43-year-old Italian has been unemployed since leaving Shakhtar in July due to the Ukraine conflict.

De Zerbi has agreed to a four-year contract at Amex Stadium, subject to obtaining a work permit.

He was Brighton’s first option to succeed Graham Potter, who left to take over as Chelsea manager from Thomas Tuchel earlier this month.

Former Napoli midfielder De Zerbi, who was in charge of Italian club Sassuolo for three years, has brought his coaching staff with him, albeit all will require work permits.

The coaching system is expected to be in place for Brighton’s next match against Liverpool at Anfield on October 1.

“I am absolutely thrilled Roberto has agreed to become our new head coach,” said Brighton chairman Tony Bloom.

“Roberto’s teams play an exciting and courageous brand of football, and I am confident his style and tactical approach will suit our existing squad superbly.”

Technical director David Weir said: “Roberto has shown his undoubted ability with his work in Italy and Ukraine, and what he achieved at Sassuolo certainly stands out.

“In his short spell with Shakhtar he enjoyed further success, leading the club to cup success and topping the Ukrainian league before the war brought an abrupt halt to his time there.”

Since Sami Hyypia’s departure in 2014, De Zerbi is just Brighton’s third permanent manager.

On Friday night, he flew to England and attended a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

They are now fourth in the Premier League and have not played since Potter’s departure, with games against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace being postponed.

De Zerbi was the only candidate with whom Brighton spoke.

His availability is important, but the work he made with Sassuolo is also appealing.

Successive eighth-place finishes in Serie A meant finishing ahead of more established clubs, which Brighton hopes to replicate after finishing ninth in the Premier League last season.

Sassuolo would have qualified for the Europa Conference League last season rather than Roma, who went on to win it under Jose Mourinho, if not for a somewhat poorer goal differential.

Games against Liverpool and Tottenham represent a tough start to De Zerbi’s Brighton tenure and, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal to face before the World Cup, he will have done exceptionally well if he can keep Brighton close to their current position.