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Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi believes it would suit both club and player if World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister stays with the Seagulls for the remainder of the season.

Chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber has already accepted there will be interest in the 24-year-old Argentina midfielder but would not welcome any approaches in January.

Mac Allister has only just returned to Sussex after a fortnight in his homeland celebrating his nation’s success in Qatar but, with the transfer window now open, speculation about his future is likely to ramp up.

De Zerbi has spoken personally with the player and wants him to concentrate on his current club for now.

“I am happy if he wants to stay with us until the end of the season and I think it is better for him,” the Italian told a press conference.

“For us, for sure, but also for him because in this moment changing team in January can be a problem for him. For us, but also for him.”

De Zerbi has transfer plans of his own, having arrived at the club to replace Graham Potter in September.

But with a trip to Goodison Park imminent he is concentrating on a return to form after defeats in two of their last three matches.

“We can’t speak about the transfer market, but the club know my ideas,” he added.

“However, tomorrow is an important game for us and I am only focused on Everton.”

Mac Allister’s returned to the club’s training ground to a joyous welcome from staff and team-mates.

He joined the squad for his first session back but De Zerbi has not yet decided whether to throw the former Argentinos Juniors midfielder straight back into Premier League action.

“Mentally, for sure Alexis can play,” he said.

“Physically, I’m not sure but we will see tomorrow morning.”

Brighton lost 4-2 at home to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday but, despite the defeat, De Zerbi was not downhearted.

“We played well against Arsenal but we needed a bit of luck and we didn’t get that. They are a great team,” he said.

“I was satisfied with the performance and attitude against Arsenal and I’m positive for tomorrow. We have to start the game strongly.

“The table is still good for us but we are still in progress. We can still improve a lot.”