If Roberto De Zerbi was expecting his time at Brighton and Hove Albion to have made him universally popular, it seems he may have been mistaken.

That’s at least if Jerome Rothen’s latest comments are anything to go by, with him joining the growing chorus of voices in France criticising the Italian coach.

De Zerbi is reportedly close to finalising a move to Marseille, who have made a surprise move for the former Brighton coach this week after being frustrated in their pursuit of Sergio Conceiçao.

A deal has quickly been agreed with De Zerbi and he is expected to be named as Marseille’s manager soon, once a compensation package with Brighton has also been finalised.

He left the Seagulls at the end of this season after two years in charge of the club, leading them into Europe for the first time in their history and to 11th this season.

His second season proved to be more difficult than the first, with a series of injuries to key players taking their toll, with a poor end to the season seeing Brighton win one of their last ten games in the Premier League.

That’s something Rothen has taken notice of, and, like former France coach Raymond Domenech, he isn’t convinced about the Italian.

“There is excessive hype about foreign coaches,” Sassuolo news report him saying.

“I struggle to understand De Zerbi: some great experts tell us that he is a coach fantastic, brilliant, who is revolutionising football. I have seen his teams play very often and we cannot say that he is the greatest in Europe.

“Let’s put Shakhtar aside because they were forced to leave due to the war. With Sassuolo they did good things, but they finished eighth.

“They didn’t impress me when they played at the Vélodrome in the Europa League against OM. In the second leg they won only 1-0, a domination.

“The experience at Brighton ended in disaster, since February they have only won one match. Forgive me if I have doubts about De Zerbi’s real abilities, I can’t define him as a great coach.”