Chelsea could well find themselves stuck with unwanted manager Antonio Conte for the forthcoming 2018/19 season as a result of the ongoing contractual difficulties of replacing him.
The Italian was pictured with his staff on the first day of pre-season on Sunday, in a scene many thought they wouldn't see after a summer of intense speculation over his future.
It was previously reported that Conte had endured his latest falling out with Chelsea over a club email informing players that pre-season training was to start on Sunday, with the boss insistent that he is in charge and didn't want the squad back until Monday.
But Conte did turn up on Sunday and posed for a happy looking picture with his backroom staff that was subsequently uploaded to Instagram by his brother, Daniele Conte.
The caption read, "Come on Chelsea, Come on Team Conte".
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Come on Chelsea Come on Team Conte!!! 💪 💙 Chelsea2018/19 #cheseafc #chelsea #chelseafootballclub #chelseafc #blues #team #teamconte #comeonblues #comeonchelsea #cobham #cobhamtrainingground #cobhamtrainingcenter #football #lovefootball #premirleague #london #uk #unitedkingdom #antonioconte #conte #enjoy🤙 @chelseafc
But, just as things looked like they were at last coming together, it was reported over the weekend that Napoli are still demanding a huge compensation fee of up to €20m to release Sarri from his contract. That is despite already relieving him of his managerial duties.
It had been thought that the Serie A club would settle for €8m, but the latest claims suggest that president Aurelio de Laurentiis has had a change of heart and wants much more.
Chelsea would also remain obliged to compensate Conte if they sack him. The Premier League and FA Cup winning boss has steadfastly refused to resign his position, meaning that the club has no choice but to prematurely terminate his contract if they want rid.
As things stand, Chelsea would owe Conte a reported figure of £9m, the value of the final year of his terms unless he immediately finds another similarly well paid job. Even if he were to take another job, Chelsea would reportedly still have to top up his wages to match his current salary until the end of the 2018/19 season when his deal is due to expire.