Maurizio Sarri, Gianfranco Zola agree deals with Chelsea?


Former banker Sarri, 59, will be Chelsea's eighth manager inside a decade as Russian owner Roman Abramovich has never shown a sentimental side to his nature regarding them, no matter the trophies they won the preceding season as Roberto di Matteo found just months after delivering Abramovich's holy grail the Champions League.

While the bitter battle between Chelsea and Conte rages on in the background, the club will officially confirm Sarri as the new head coach with Blues legend Gianfranco Zola joining his backroom team.

Chelsea said in a statement on Friday: "Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company".

Napoli's president revealed Sarri was close to finalising a deal to take over at Chelsea on Wednesday, two days before Conte's sacking was confirmed by the Premier League club.

Conte's average of 2.14 points per game in the Premier League is bettered only by Alex Ferguson (2.16) and Guardiola (2.34).

That success was helped by prolific striker Diego Costa, who scored 20 goals and provided eight assists. Conte's relationship with Chelsea's hierarchy was strained after disagreements over their transfer policy last season.

The off-field controversies bled onto the pitch and the west Londoners flattered to deceive.

It's always been known that Conte would be dismissed with Sarri the favoured replacement, yet it was somehow allowed to get to the stage where the former Italy coach took the first three days of pre-season training before being dismissed. "Great man, Great manager".

Sarri's future has been up in the air since Napoli hired Carlo Ancelotti as their new coach in May.

The chain smoking former Empoli manager - who will have to restrain himself on the touchline in England where smoking is banned - was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

Juventus are ready to offload the Argentina worldwide after signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid and are keen to do business before 23rd July, when Higuain would be due to report for pre-season training.

Sarri didn't win a major title at Napoli, however, and that would not be tolerated at Chelsea.

Conte's volcanic intensity also alienated some insiders, including leading players whose discontent filtered out.