Prospective new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri keen to bring in Blues legend Gianfranco Zola as his assistant

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 15 June 2018, 10:08

Chelsea are edging closer to appointing Maurizio Sarri as their new manager, with the Italian set to bring in Blues legend Gianfranco Zola as his assistant.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Sarri, who is still contracted to Napoli, will put pen-to-paper and sign a three-year deal to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

However, it’s understood that he will not be allowed to poach any of his former players.

Sarri was recently replaced at Napoli by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti. Sarri had an 8million Euros release clause, which has since expired, but Chelsea must still pay for his services as he's still under contract - believed to be in the region of 3-5m Euros.

Sarri spent three seasons in charge of Napoli, during which he led the Naples outfit to two runners-up finishes in Serie A, with a third-place finish sandwiched in between.

However, he’s now on his way to the Premier League, where he’ll lock horns with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp, Unai Emery and Jose Mourinho.

La Gazzetta dello Sport also states that Zola is set to return to Chelsea as an assistant to Sarri.

The 51-year-old, who has previously managed the likes of Watford, West Ham and Birmingham, spent seven years at Chelsea during his playing days, and helped win the club two FA Cups, a League Cup, Charity Shield, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are expected to have to shed out £9m to current incumbent Conte who is set to finally depart Stamford Bridge after a year of relentless rumours.

In his first campaign at the helm Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title, accumulating a whopping 30 wins along the way.

Last term the capital club slumped to a 5th place finish, and thus missed out on the Champions League, however in what now looks to have been his final game at the helm, the Blues toppled Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd in the FA Cup Final.

At the time of writing there are no other high-profile jobs up for grabs, but we’re sure Conte will be back at some point next season once a vacancy opens up...unless he fancies a post at either Bradford or Doncaster...?

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