According to the Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea and Juventus have ironed out the final agreement over Maurizio Sarri’s future after yet more meetings on Friday. The head coach is now “free to move” to Juventus. As per earlier reports, everything is expected to be finalized and announced by early next week at the latest.
This is of course no surprise. The only question over the last week or so was whether Juventus would have to pay a nominal transfer fee of around £5m. As per Romano, that does not appear to be the case. Not only is Sarri free to move to Juventus, he’s free to do so for free! There could still be some sort of side deal happening — Higuaín loan fee forgotten, for example — but officially Juventus believe they will not be paying a fee for Sarri.
And so, amid a backdrop of betrayal accusations from all things Naples, Sarri is set to join serial winners Juventus, who have won the last eight (8!) Serie A titles. That will make at least three ex-Chelsea coaches competing at the top end of the Italian league, with Sarri re-joining Conte (at Inter Milan) and Ancelotti (at Napoli). Maybe Ranieri will get hired back on as well!
As far as potential replacements at Chelsea, we get mentions only of the usual suspects: Nuno (Wolves), Gracia (Watford), Lampard (Derby), Allegri (freshly unemployed), or Blanc (not freshly unemployed). Former Chelsea assistant Steve Holland is surely in the running as well, while the bookies would like you to believe that Mourinho, Simeone, Patrick Vieira, or Erik ten Hag might be realistic options as well.
Sarri’s time at Chelsea might have been brief and very divisive, but it did give us a return to Champions League football and another European trophy to boot. It also gave us one of the best seasons from Eden Hazard, newly minted Galactico.
For all that and much more, we should be thankful.