Chelsea are on the verge of appointing Maurizio Sarri as their new manager, having reached a 'total agreement' with the Italian over a deal to take over from Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
Negotiations have dragged on for some time, with Sarri still technically under contract at Napoli despite the Serie A runners up appointing Carlo Ancelotti as their manager and Chelsea yet to dispose of Conte.
Maurizio Sarri in 2016 -— Simon Phillips (@SiPhillipsSport) June 15, 2018
“I talk with our Sporting Director once a week, but he can do whatever he wants. I’m an unusual coach, I don’t care about the transfer market, it is the refuge of the weak”.
“I am a coach. Give me a group of players and I will coach them.” pic.twitter.com/8IRBbcalou
The Blues have finally agreed a deal with the Italian side for the release of Sarri - reported by CalcioNapoli24 to be worth around €5m - after the 59-year-old agreed a two year deal with the west Londoners with the option of a one year extension.
The only kink still to be worked out is the compensation due to Antonio Conte, who still has a year left on his £9m-a-year deal in west London and is unlikely to make things either easy or cheap for his employers - with the Mail reporting that a £9.5m agreement could be close.
Chelsea failed to qualify for the Champions League under Conte's supervision last season, a dramatic comedown from their title-winning heroics just 12 months ago and enough to see the end of the Italian's reign - particularly given off-field tensions over transfer policy.
Gianfranco Zola is expected to come in alongside Sarri as sporting director, to act as something of a barrier between the Napoli man and the Blues' board - with Sarri notoriously reluctant to be involved in transfer dealings.
Sarri has never managed outside of Italy in his career, winning the Serie A Manager of the Year award in the 2016/17 season but never getting his hands on major silverware with any of his teams.