Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the day, if Gazzetto dello Sport are to be believed, when Napoli head coach (and potential Conte replacement) Maurizio Sarri and Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis will “find themselves in an office building to talk closely”. Given the boisterous nature of the owner, it’s tough to imagine this conversation remaining in hushed tones for too long, though it does depend which ADL (good cop or bad cop) shows up, and obviously on how close he might be to agreeing a new deal with his team’s head coach.
The facts (“facts”) as we know them from the various reports and rumors over the past several weeks are:
- Sarri has two more years on his contract but has an €8m release clause, valid until May 31
- ADL wants to give him a new contract, without any release clauses
- Sarri wants a decent pay raise and promises of investment in the squad of top quality players to compete with Juventus
- ADL ready to offer a slightly lower pay raise but wants to continue to club’s m.o. of investing in younger players instead
- If Sarri doesn’t get what he wants, he may threaten to walk or go on strike, forcing the owner to either sack him, lower or waive his release clause, or something more complicated or dramatic.
Carlo Ancelotti is rumored to be in line to replace Sarri if he does leave or abdicate, though that seems a bit fanciful given Napoli’s ideals in terms of players and finances.
It should be noted that while we’ve assumed that the most likely place Sarri would end up at is Chelsea, that part of the rumor is perhaps the one that stands on the most shaky ground, even if this fateful meeting plays well with the idea that Conte will be sacked after the FA Cup final this Saturday.