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Chelsea willing to pay release clause after meeting with Sarri’s agent — report

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€8m option valid until end of May

Front page news in Italy this morning, right next to all the Champions League drama between AS Roma and Liverpool at the Stadio Olympico last night, is yet another blurb about Chelsea’s interest in Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri.

And this one goes a step further than most until now, specifically talking up Chelsea’s willingness to pay Sarri’s €8m release clause (plus €500k early termination penalty), which expires at the end of this month.

The article itself is not yet online, but Football Italia have relayed the rest of it, which also claims that not only have Chelsea’s “intermediaries” met with Sarri’s agent, but the coach has instructed “some of his staff” to begin learning English. Sarri himself already speaks or at least understands English, apparently, so at least we’re good to go there.

Whether Sarri would actually push for this move remains unclear. As per a report yesterday, he remains very much focused on the last three games of the season even if the Scudetto is now basically gone after last weekend’s shambolic 3-0 loss to mid-table Fiorentina. Napoli trail Juventus by four points. He also remains discussions with Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis over a contract extension, with his demands (€4m per year) and the owner’s offer (€3.5m per year) not all that far apart. Sarri is also “demanding” some transfer spending, which is a bit ironic given that he’s not supposed to be as hung up on that as, say, Antonio Conte. But perhaps all managers are the same in the end in some respects.

A few recent reports have struck a slightly different tone however as wekk, implying that perhaps it’s a good time for both Sarri and Napoli to move on. The 59-year-old’s three-year tenure in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius has brought a fair amount of acclaim but no actual trophies (a constant theme of Sarri’s long journeyman career), and possibly it’s time for a bit of a minor ‘rivoluzione’, with the likes of Koulibaly, Jorginho, and Mertens also on the way out for big money.

With Arsenal sensationally linked with Jürgen Klopp’s assistant this week, Chelsea remain at the top of the Sarri narrative and Sarri remains at the top of Chelsea’s list, as far as we can tell. That is only if Conte is to leave, which we remain hopeful isn’t a foregone conclusion.