What would Maurizio Sarri bring to Chelsea?by Jack Kitson / 03 May 2018, 12:56Tweet
Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri faces a huge decision this summer, with reports of interest from Chelsea gathering pace with each day that passes.
It is no secret that the Blues are seeking an alternative to Antonio Conte on the bench, and the man they covet has done incredible things with his current side in Serie A. It seems as though Juventus will now take a seventh-consecutive Scudetto, but they have been pushed harder than ever by the Partenopei this time around.
Of course, an eye-catching brand of possession-based football implemented by the man in charge has caught the headlines both in Italy and abroad, with Manchester City supremo Pep Guardiola one of Sarri’s biggest advocates. It will take a fee of ¤8 million – the figure written in as a release clause in his Napoli contract – to bring the Coach to Stamford Bridge, a sum that doesn’t seem overly prohibitive.
Reports in this morning’s La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Sarri’s lawyer Alessandro Pellegrini has already met with Chelsea representatives in order to discuss the potential terms on offer, should he decide that this is an attractive prospect.
Aside from the obvious easy-on-the-eye style of play, what else would Sarri bring to SW6? This man is someone who has continually proved the critics wrong since making it as a professional football manager following a career in banking and a rise up the amateur leagues. The Tuscan-born boss only made his Serie A coaching debut in 2014/15 with Empoli and since then has continued to improve every single season.
There is no reason not to think that Sarri could make this step-up once again, but his ways may surprise people in England should he indeed make the switch. They may be used to a little controversy at Chelsea thanks to Conte’s ranting, however their potential new man is old-school and even more stubborn, often refusing to bow to the media’s particular line of questioning.
Yet with Napoli on the cusp of a breakthrough in Serie A, why would Sarri leave before his project was finished?
Money is undoubtedly an issue, with Sarri having asked for a renewed contract worth ¤4 million per season. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is said to be uncompromising on a fee of ¤3.5 million inclusive of bonuses, but the real issue is said to be down to the playing staff for next season.
While several of the playing squad have been linked with a move away from the Stadio San Paolo, the Coach is said to be at loggerheads with the owner over transfer strategy for 2018/19. The stellar reputation earned by the current playing squad has meant the rumour mill has gone into overdrive with links to moves overseas, and De Laurentiis is reportedly sticking to the idea of bringing in young players. This remains in opposition with Sarri’s idea of making the right summer investments in order to secure a title win, creating tension between the two parties.
“I must say, seeing the Premier League have this constant alternation of winners every year, it grows the love for teams and makes everyone have hope of success,” admitted Sarri after a defeat to Fiorentina seemingly crushed Napoli’s title hopes last weekend, giving his biggest hint yet he may be ready to move to England.
“It’s a different situation here in Italy. The risk is that we’ll lose many fans, because they cheer on teams that will never win and they know that too well.”
Sampdoria’s Marco Giampaolo and Unai Emery of PSG are listed as the favourites to take over at Napoli should their boss step away at the end of the current campaign. Neapolitan newspaper Il Mattino even suggested that the club could contact Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez over a return to the Partenopei and Chelsea have been linked with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, however all is yet to be decided.
One major advantage for Chelsea is that Sarri already speaks English from his days working for the bank, the boss clearly intelligent if not a little old-fashioned in style. A decision is expected by the end of the month, not long to wait for Blues fans to find out is beautiful football is soon to be seen on the Stamford Bridge turf.