Italy is understandably fixated on the future of favorite son Antonio Conte. Their dream is that he once again stomps the sidelines for their recently humiliated (as in, not going to the World Cup) national team. And that means the Italian media is also closely following the trail of his possible (if he leaves Chelsea) successor. Especially if said replacement is Italian.
Enter Napoli gaffer Maurizio Sarri. The rumors have been flowing thick and fast about him in the last few weeks. He’s stalling on his contract renewal talks, he’s canceled the lease on his dwelling, he’s set a negotiating date for the end of the season, Chelsea representatives will approach him, Monaco want him if Jardim leaves... pick and choose which of those you think is most believable.
Now there’s a new one. Italy’s Gazzatta dello Sport (via talkSport) is reporting that Sarri “would listen” if Chelsea came calling. A similar story is on Calciomercato, albeit with different wording. In their version, Sarri is “intrigued” by the possibility of coaching in SW6.
This being the cynical world of football, it’s entirely possible that all of these rumors are being floated by Sarri’s agent, who may be trying to squeeze a better deal out of notoriously tight-fisted Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Or there could be a smidgen of truth to them. Who knows? Luis Enrique is the presumptive favorite should Conte leave, but he may (or may not, these are all rumors) have wage demands that are too high and have gotten cold feet. Chelsea owe it to themselves to do their due diligence on other coaches. A good case can be made for Sarri, and an equally strong one for Jardim.
In our recent poll, the plurality of voters wanted Conte to stay. If Tuchel has snapped up PSG and Bayern have picked their new boss, then there aren’t any Conte-sized jobs out there. In other words...