With limited resources and under the command of a madman at the chairman position in his club, Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri did plenty with what he had available in his three seasons at the club. His latest achievement was a 2nd-place finish in the Serie A which was lost by only four points to Juventus, the rich side of the Northern part of Italy who took home their seventh consecutive league title.
It was a title Napoli had in their grasp had it not been for their failure to secure results when it mattered the most. The Partenopei did not have the resilience of a Bianconeri side who managed to turn around a 2-0 loss against Inter in Milan into a 3-2 win in the last minutes of a match, as they went on to lose 3-0 to Fiorentina just one week after beating Juventus 1-0. This drew the ire of Aurelio De Laurentiis towards Sarri, which in turn intensified the rumours linking the Italian boss to a Chelsea switch.
Their issues however seemed to be resolved this week with plenty of Italian newspapers claiming Sarri had agreed upon signing a new contract to stay at Napoli. Still, Napoli are a club run by De Laurentiis, and are as inconsistent as their owner. So it should not be much of a surprise that these rumours may have become outdated in a matter of days given the chairman’s complaints on the lack of commitment by his club’s coach.
“Some say it is the end of an era for us but that’s probably not the case, let’s see.”
“Maurizio Sarri’s future? You will have to ask him. He never wanted to give me an answer and his agent always said ‘maybe’.”
“For me it is now too late since we have to move on with our plan. We have to move on and think about the future. This doesn’t mean that Sarri will be leaving since he has a clause in his contract. Let’s see what happens...”
-Aurelio De Laurentiis; Source: Radio Kiss Kiss via Calciomercato
It seems that De Laurentiis wants to retain Sarri’s services. After all he almost lead a merry-band of misfits towards a league title, and it feels as if he can do much more if gets the chance to build a better core of players.
But now Sarri, who had been quiet on his prospects in his public talks, is already talking as if he is set to leave the club.
Sarri leaving Napoli?: “In life everything comes to an end. Sometimes it's better to finish stories when it’s good. Tomorrow I’ll talk to my family. The president needs a quick response. I couldn’t go to another Italian team immediately. The memory of Napoli would be too strong."— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) May 20, 2018
So if Sarri leaves Napoli — and by all indications, he will — he would go abroad. And his release clause is set to expire in two days, hence why he is rushing to give De Laurentiis a definitive answer.
It all fits nicely into the recent narrative linking Sarri to a Chelsea move. As Arsenal seem set to sign Mikel Arteta to fill in Arsène Wenger’s shows, and Paris Saint-Germain already having Thomas Tuchel as their coach, the only coaching position left in the market for big clubs is Chelsea’s. That of course assuming Antonio Conte will be leaving the club in the next few days, which seems to be a given despite his FA Cup success last weekend.
For many, Sarri is the best option available. He would bring — or at the very least try to — offensive and “exhilarating” football, based on possession, triangulations and many other things that ticks the boxes of every Chelsea fan wanting the club to move in the opposite direction of their recent managerial appointments, with “conservative” bosses taking the club’s helm.
But there is more to the club’s success than just a coaching nomination. Sarri, or whoever else takes over the club, could be the beginning of the club setting a defined strategy, something we had not seen since we brought André Villas-Boas from Porto back in 2011. However, if everything else stays the same, we can expect another round of angry Instagram posts by the end of the next season.