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03rd Feb 2018

Chelsea identify another Serie A manager as possible Conte replacement

It would be a great appointment

Reuben Pinder

This would be interesting.

All signs point towards Antonio Conte leaving Chelsea in the summer. When Chelsea rewarded his league title win with a pay rise but not an extension on his contract, it was clear that neither party planned to stay in business with each other for more than three years, maximum.

As the relationship between Conte and the Chelsea board has deteriorated, it has become more implausible that the Italian will stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season. With that in mind, they’ve started looking for Conte’s successor and have identified another target, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Gazzetta report that Chelsea want to hire current Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri as Conte’s replacement. Sarri is currently leading a Napoli side to their first league title since the Maradona years. They sit one point ahead of Juventus at the top of the table, and their style of football has been attracting attention from around the continent.

Sarri has an €8m release clause in his contract, which Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis said he would “immediately remove” if there was any danger of Sarri leaving, which makes you wonder what the point of the clause is anyway.

The Napoli boss has been managing since 1990 but got his first big break in management in 2015 when Napoli, impressed with his Empoli side, took a punt on him. It’s proved to be a risk worth taking, as he has got them playing such exciting football. Pep Guardiola even described this Napoli team as the hardest team City had faced this season when the two sides met in the Champions League earlier this season.

This would certainly be a huge coup for Chelsea if they were able to prise Sarri away from the San Paolo, but De Laurentiis will do what he can to keep Sarri in Naples.