Football

Chelsea sack Conte as Napoli's Sarri is lined up as replacement

Chelsea have sacked Italian Antonio Conte as manager, reported British and Italian yesterday.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis said on Wednesday that the English Premier League side were close to securing a deal for former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri to replace Conte.

There was no immediate confirmation from Chelsea, who won the EPL title with Conte in his first season after joining in 2016 and also the FA Cup in his latest campaign. A deal is expected to be announced within the next few days.

The former Italy manager had a year remaining on his current contract and had already taken charge of pre-season preparations at the club's Cobham training ground.

Conte's future with the Roman Abramovich-owned club has looked uncertain for months, however, with the Londoners failing to qualify for the coming season's Champions League after finishing fifth in 2017-18, reported Reuters.

Sarri was replaced by former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti in May, with the Naples club seeking to end Juventus' dominance in the league.

The 59-year-old led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finishes in three seasons in charge.

The Telegraph reported that Abramovich held off sacking Conte to see if a job became available, which would save Chelsea having to pay him his full £9 million (S$16.2m) compensation.

However, the club have been left with little choice but to act.

Napoli midfielder Jorginho looks set to follow Sarri to Stamford Bridge in deal reportedly worth £57.4 million for both coach and player.

The 26-year-old Italian underwent a medical with Chelsea yesterday, reported the British media.

The Evening Standard reported that de Laurentiis is keen to make sure that Sarri does not raid the Naples club for any more new signings.

Chelsea, who face off against Manchester City in the Community Shield on Aug 5, kick off their English Premier League campaign at Huddersfield on Aug 11.

Football