Chelsea have 'agreed terms' with former Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc, but the club remains keen on appointing Maurizio Sarri and will wait to see whether Napoli are willing to let him leave his contract, according to Italian news outlet Sportitalia (via Football Italia).
Current Blues boss Antonio Conte is set to depart Stamford Bridge following a disappointing season both in Europe and domestically. A host of possible replacements have been linked with the soon-to-be vacant position, including Sarri, who guided Napoli to a second-placed finish before he was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
Talks between Sarri and Chelsea have been ongoing for weeks and, as per the report, the Blues were prepared to offer the Italian tactician a two-year contract. However, it's claimed that Chelsea were unaware of the way in which the Italian's contracts works.
Despite having been dismissed and indeed replaced as Napoli head coach, Sarri remains under contract with I Ciucciarelli and will continue to be paid by the Neapolitan club until there is an agreement to terminate his deal by mutual consent.
Chelsea have agreed terms with Laurent Blanc, but are waiting to see if Maurizio Sarri can still conclude his ongoing dispute with Napoli.— Simon Phillips (@SiPhillipsSport) June 5, 2018
Although terms have been agreed with Blanc, he is still very much considered Plan B behind Maurizio Sarri (Sportitalia)
The Premier League side had the option of activating an €8m release clause but the deadline passed on May 31 and Chelsea have since contacted other suitors regarding the managerial position.
Former PSG manager Laurent Blanc held a meeting with Marina Granovskaia - Chelsea's director - on Monday and it has been widely reported that the Frenchman is set to be offered the job.
Nevertheless, according to Sportitalia transfer pundit Alfredo Pedulla, the two parties have reached an agreement but Blanc is 'very much considered Plan B', and Chelsea will give Sarri 'a few days' to try and persuade Napoli's President Aurelio De Laurentiis into terminating his contract.
This report comes despite some suggestions that Chelsea would drop their interest in Sarri over past controversial behaviour.