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Chelsea deny Sarri was in the running to replace Lampard before hiring Tuchel — reports

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Why so serious?

Chelsea v Derby County - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

There’s a lot of nonsense said, printed, and tweeted in football media (and all things media-adjacent) every single day, and one prime example of that is the claim that Chelsea had wanted to bring back Maurizio Sarri after sacking Frank Lampard last month.

The story came from one Italy’s countless rumor-mongering talking heads, and not one of the ones worth even a second of your time, called Ciro Venerato, who filled a few minutes of airtime on RAI Sport yesterday morning by discussing the situation at Napoli, where Gennaro Gattuso’s job security is disappearing quite quickly and Sarri has become one of the favorites to replace him. As an off-hand mention, Venerato threw in that Sarri, who’s been unemployed since getting sacked at Juventus in the summer, had been (also) wanted recently by Chelsea before Abramovich himself apparently put the kibosh on that notion. Marina Granovskaia was said to have personally “fought for the return” of Sarri-ball, but Big Daddy Roman was not having any of that again — or at least not exactly given Tuchel-ball’s similarities in many respects. Or some such.

In any case, this is all quite laughable — maybe not even so much for the shocking idea (we did appoint Rafa Benítez once, after all), but for the fact that not a single peep was said about Sarri in connection with Chelsea since he left for Juve in 2019. Even Avram Grant was excavated from the murky depths when Lampard’s hot-seat became unbearably scalding! But not Sarri, who was chain-smoking at home and playing with his dog.

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There is however a potentially intriguing footnote to all this. Many hours after the story first made the rounds, the big three on the Chelsea beat all posted practically identical tweets about the story being nonsense. Just three minutes apart starting at 10:19pm local time, The Telegraph’s Matt Law, The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, and The Athletic’s Simon Johnson all suddenly felt the urge to tweet about how this was absolutely, completely, and definitely nonsense.

What a coincidence!

Looks like a classic case of a club briefing, which then raises the question ... but why? Why even bother to address this obvious nonsense?

Chelsea’s club policy is to never comment directly on any rumors — which is never not amusing when you consider that an entire section of the official (!) club website is dedicated to baseless rumor-mongering — but the club still comment plenty through the preferred sources, such as these three.

Hmmm...

In any case, regardless of whether Chelsea had seriously considered Sarri or not, things are going pretty well with Tuchel thus far, so let’s keep that going please!

FBL-EUR-C1-ATLETICO-CHELSEA Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images