Brighton defender Ezequiel Schelotto has confirmed that he will leave the club at the end of the season and is seeking a return to his native Italy.
The 31-year-old’s contract at the Amex Stadium expires this summer and, having been unable to agree new terms, he stated in an interview to Tuttomercatoweb [via The Argus] that he is open to going back to his homeland.
Schelotto said: “I’ve been here for three years and I thank the club who opened the doors for me to the best league in the world. We were talking about renewal. It was positive. I thought I could stay but they set different conditions than I imagined.
“I’m 31 and I have a lot to give to football. I say thank you to Brighton but I have to continue on my own path.”
He has continued to find game-time hard to come by this term, making just nine appearances in all competitions. He started the 2-1 win over Arsenal last month but has not featured in the subsequent five matches, failing to even make the 20-man matchday squad for the last three. [via TransferMarkt]
Martin Montoya had been keeping him out of the team for the bulk of 2019/20 but both he and Schelotto have recently had to give way to Tariq Lamptey, the 19-year-old starting four successive matches since the Premier League restart.
The ex-Chelsea youngster has earned rave reviews from his manager Graham Potter, along with team-mates, pundits and football fans, for his performances since coming into the team, while age is very much on his side to grow even further over the months and years ahead.
Even before the emergence of Lamptey, Schelotto was threatening to turn into something of a forgotten man at Brighton, while his failure to make an extended matchday squad in recent games starkly highlighted where he lies in the manager’s pecking order.
The Italian has been on the periphery at the Amex for the last two seasons and, with Lamptey potentially making the right-back slot his own, it comes as no great surprise that the 31-year-old has decided that now is a good time to close the book on his three-year stay in Sussex.
Brighton fans, had you been expecting Schelotto to move on this summer even before his announcement? Comment below with your views!
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