Antonio Conte’s two-year spell as Chelsea manager appears to be coming to an end.
Despite ending the campaign just gone with victory in the FA Cup final, it made no difference to the Italian’s standing at Stamford Bridge and it seems only a matter of time now before Conte is thrown on Chelsea’s vast managerial scrap heap.
Multiple reports on Friday alleged that the Premier League side had met with former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri in London, and Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport have gone one further to report that an agreement has been struck between the two parties for Conte’s compatriot to take the reins at the club next season.
One big stumbling block was Sarri’s Napoli release clause, despite losing his job last week. Under Italian manager employment laws the sacking club retains the rights to his contract even after dispensing with him, which allowed Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis to demand that Chelsea pay Sarri’s €8m release clause to obtain his services.
Sarri parted company with Napoli last week upon the end of the Serie A season. The side had a hard-fought title battle with Juventus for much of the season, amassing a highly-respectable 91 points, though they finished in second place behind Juve’s 95 points.
Sarri has since been replaced in the manager’s chair, coincidentally, by former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The report goes on to suggest that Chelsea will make an official announcement regarding Sarri’s arrival. One would assume that Conte will be relieved from his post some time before this.