Liverpool legend favourite for vacant Brighton role

Sami Hyypia

Former Liverpool and Finland captain Sami Hyypia has swiftly risen to become favourite for the vacant managers job at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Hyypia was most recently seen managing Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, and a move to Championship club Brighton, who were defeated in the play-off semi-final under recently resigned Oscar Garcia, represents a step down in club stature. However, for the 40-year old childhood Liverpool fan, a move to England represents a homecoming of sorts, despite being located on the south coast.

The 105-time capped Finnish international signed for English giants Liverpool in 1999, and by 2001 was regularly captaining the side from the centre of defence. Despite relinquishing the club captaincy to Steven Gerrard, he remained at Anfield for 10 years, winning a cup treble in 2001, as well as featuring in the remarkable 2005 Champions League campaign, where his defensive partnership with Jamie Carragher helped them complete an amazing comeback in the final.

His short managerial career has been entirely spent in Germany with Leverkusen, whereby he co-managed the club with Sascha Lewandowski to Champions League qualification. Despite taking sole control in June 2013, Hyypia failed to last the entirety of the season, being sacked in April 2014 following defeat to Hamburger SV.

The managerial chair at Brighton has been vacant since Oscar Garcia tended his resignation following the Seagulls defeat in the play-off semi-finals for the second consecutive season. The Spaniard spent just one season with Brighton, before recently agreeing to return to his former club Maccabi Tel Aviv as head coach.

With Hyypia available, the potential of his arrival at the Amex Stadium has been rumoured in recent weeks, but the biggest hint that he is on the verge of signing came this morning, when huge movement last night saw the former defender fall from 33/1 to become the 8/13 favourite, according to Sky Bet.

Other contenders for the role remain, although second favourite Steve Clark, currently 7/2 to take the role, is far from the odds-on choice of Hyypia. Tim Sherwood, Paul Clement and Gianfranco Zola all feature as well, although with steadily increasing odds.

Brighton fans must surely be happy at the likelihood of Hyypia's arrival. A Premier League legend with top level coaching experience, many must be thinking that he could be the man to secure top flight football for the south coast club.

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