Conte's firing imminent as Sarri waits in the wings

AFP
The long-running saga over Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's future is set to be resolved imminently with his sacking; and he will be replaced by fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri.
AFP

The long-running saga over Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s future is set to be resolved imminently with his sacking; and he will be replaced by fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, according to British media reports.

Conte’s departure has been long expected, even though he added an FA Cup in May to the English Premier League title he won in his first season in charge of Chelsea in 2016/17.

Both the Daily Mirror and The Times report yesterday things are coming to a head.

The Times reports that Conte sent an email stating he is still the head coach and expects players who are not at the World Cup to be at the training ground on Monday when he returns from holiday, countermanding a request from a member of the club’s technical staff for players to report this weekend.

The Mirror reports that players want the confusion sorted out so they can plan for the future and that several agents are in limbo over potential transfers.

Conte is seen to have contributed to his own demise, having fallen out both with the players and the board as the sheen of the title victory disappears.

His intense training methods angered senior players and he alienated the board over his disparaging treatment of Spain striker Diego Costa and constant carping over the club’s failure to replace top players with those of similar ability.

Sarri, an ex-banker, has been a favorite to succeed his compatriot after impressing as manager of Serie A side Napoli, which has replaced him with former Chelsea handler Carlo Ancelotti.

The main barrier has been compensation.

Conte is due a reported 9 million pounds (US$11.9 million) if he remains out of work for the season and with the major jobs such as Real Madrid and the Italy national post — which he occupied for two years until after Euro 2016 — filled it is likely he will sit the year out.

Napoli is also expecting compensation of around 4.5 million pounds for Sarri, who is still under contract even though he is no longer its coach.

Sarri is believed to have agreed to bring former Chelsea favorite Gianfranco Zola — whose managerial career has stalled after a series of failures — along as one of his backroom staff.


Special Reports
Top