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Gianfranco Zola ‘could join’ Maurizio Sarri’s staff at Chelsea — report

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New Chelsea head coach would need new staff as well

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Maurizio Sarri’s ascension to the Chelsea head coaching post appears to be only a matter of time — or more accurately, a matter of a couple signatures on the contract and a matter of an agreement found with Napoli for his release — but that’s only the first step in what should be a busy summer for the Blues.

For Sarri himself, that will include trying to convince the club to get him the signings that he needs and getting his squad playing in the way he wants through a shortened (and currently in a state of disarray) pre-season, but before any of that happens, he will need to sort out his own staff.

Sarri’s current staff are apparently (all?) staying at Napoli and joining new manager Carlo Ancelotti rather than sticking with the old boss. This is somewhat surprising considering they include the likes of assistant coach Francesco Calzona, who’s been with Sarri since 2010 across four different appointments (Alessandria, Sorrento, Empoli, Napoli). Several others, who had joined the head coach when he moved from Empoli to Napoli are now apparently staying put. By contrast, Chelsea are likely to sack all of Conte’s staff except the goalkeeper coach, Gianluca Spinelli, who’s developed a strong rapport with Courtois, Caballero & Co.

In any case, initial guesses for who might be joining Sarri as assistant at Chelsea include another former associate at Empoli, Giovanni Martusciello, as well as a certain lovable Chelsea legend, Gianfranco Zola. Martusciello was one of Sarri’s assistant at Empoli but stayed behind to continue in the role under a new manager before eventually taking over as manager himself in 2016. He lasted just one season, getting the team relegated in the process. He spent last season working as a technical advisor at Internazionale.

Gianfranco Zola’s own management career has had a few ups and down as well — including a disastrous 24 games in charge of Birmingham City a couple years ago — but including him on Sarri’s staff would be a classic, tried and true move to create an instant connection with the club’s history and fans. (Similar to how Andre Villas-Boas picked Roberto Di Matteo, for example.)