Sami Hyypia takes Brighton job
Sami Hyypia has been appointed as manager of Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.
Hyypia, 40, joins Brighton having left Bayer Leverkusen in April after a poor run of form threatened their chances of qualification for the Champions League.
He replaces Oscar Garcia who resigned at the end of the season following a 6-2 aggregate defeat against Derby.
Having collected 105 caps for his native Finland and having enjoyes years of collecting silverware at Liverpool, Hyypia is keen to continue his successful career and believes Brighton are showing a similar desire.
"The chairman is ambitious and for me that is absolutely key,'' he said. "I am now looking forward to the challenge ahead and our aim is to take the club forward to the next level.
"I've seen the Amex Stadium and the club's new training ground and they are among the best I've seen anywhere in the world.
"I've also already met some of the key staff including Nathan Jones, the club's head of football David Burke, and Dr Helge Riepenhoff, head of medical and sports science, and I am very much looking forward to working with all of them.''
Chairman Tony Bloom revealed Hyypia was the stand-out name from what he called a "wealth of very high-calibre applicants'' and has backed the new manager to succeed, with promotion to the Premier League likely to be Hyypia's remit.
"We are very excited to have appointed Sami as our new manager,'' said Bloom. "He has already had a distinguished career in the game, having played and managed at the very top. As we have said previously we had a wealth of very high calibre applicants.
"Paul and I undertook an extensive and diligent evaluation of the contenders and Sami was the one who emerged as our number-one choice. I would like to thank the fans for their patience during this time. I know the fans were keen to see a new manager in place quickly, but it was vital to take our time.
"I am extremely confident that Sami will be a big success at Brighton, and I am sure the fans will share our delight at his appointment.''
Hyypia is best remembered in England for a 10-year association with Liverpool which saw him make over 300 appearances and win two FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.
Brighton are believed to have considered a number of managers for the role before Hyypia emerged as a surprise candidate earlier in the week.
Real Madrid coach Paul Clement, Lyon coach Remi Garde, former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood and ex-Newcastle and Norwich manager Chris Hughton were all linked with the position.