A man claiming to be Gianfranco Zola’s agent talked “exclusively” to CalcioNapoli24 yesterday about the recent rumors surrounding the Chelsea legend’s potential return to Stamford Bridge to work alongside Maurizio Sarri.
Fulvio Marucco, both an agent and an attorney for Zola, claims that despite the rumors of Gianfranco flying to London this week, there is no meeting scheduled with Chelsea, but the idea of a reunion is something that sure excites his client.
“The contract of Gianfranco Zola in South Africa to comment on the World Cup [for SuperSport] will end on the 20th, will not be interrupted earlier than expected. There were no contacts with Chelsea or Sarri staff. The first step is to find the agreement between [Conte] and Chelsea for the termination of the contract, then will have to get the signature of Sarri.”
Of course, the 20th is tomorrow (Wednesday), which is the day the Evening Standard claimed Zola would be flying, so the agent isn’t really denying that part. And while he’s correct that Conte still needs to be sacked and Sarri still needs to be finalized and signed and sealed and delivered, it’s clear that Zola would welcome the chance to not only return to Chelsea but to work alongside one of his coaching idols.
“Zola is very happy with the [rumors]; his idols as coaches are Guardiola and Sarri. Working with Maurizio would be a fantastic thing; for him it would also be a homecoming. Chelsea is another home for Zola.”
“He has remained in the hearts of all the fans, no one has ever taken the jersey no.25. In the farewell with Chelsea 40 thousand people arrived to greet him. We still have to wait a few days; I have no scheduled meetings.”
-Fulvio Marrucco; source: CalcioNapoli24 via Google Translate
It’s still unclear exactly what Zola’s proposed position at Chelsea would be, but since it appears very much tied to Sarri’s fate, it’s probably not a classic Director of Football role that would function independently of the coaching staff. Instead, most seem to believe that his remit will be more diplomatic in an attempt to try to head off and avoid some of the friction between the technical and business sides of Chelsea that played a major part the sackings of both Mourinho and Conte.