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Chelsea manager search: Arsenal ‘step away’ from Luis Enrique, step towards Sarri?

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Round and round we go.

Deportivo Alaves vs Barcelona - Copa Del Rey Final Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

In the space of a week, out of work manager Luis Enrique has been reportedly dropped by both Chelsea and Arsenal as a primary candidate for their managerial vacancies (potential or confirmed).

While both the Blues and the Gunners cited (again, reportedly) Lucho’s supposed wage demands, which are a holdover from when he was winning all the trophies in his lucrative position as Barca manager, as a reason for turning to other candidates, the report in today’s Sunday Times from Duncan Castles also claims that Arsenal simply don’t consider him an “appropriate” candidate to fill the dogmatic shoes of Wenger. On the surface that seems an outrageous claim — isn’t Barcelona football the ideal that Wenger was always striving for? — but apparently Luis Enrique is “self-absorbed” and “would not mesh” with Arsenal’s restructuring behind the scenes.

Somehow those exact qualities do make him a good fit for Chelsea, according to Castles, but surely he’s just trolling at that point, as he often tends to do on. If earlier reports are to be believed, Chelsea themselves are looking for precisely the opposite of those qualities, as we try to create a new paradigm of non-conflict between the football an the business side of the enterprise.

The name most likely to be Conte’s replacement, if we had to guess right now, would be Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri, and he’s now also the name at or near the top of Arsenal’s 10-man shortlist, too. With at least three teams vying for his services, Sarri could be in for a nice payday this summer. Unconfirmed and vague reports last week in the Italian media claimed that his agent was in fact in London recently, though it’s not clear exactly when or exactly which side of the city he was talking to.