As reports surface of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte having prepared a full pre-season training schedule for his players, once again the Italian media claim that Maurizio Sarri will be in place come Monday, which is when the non World Cup players return to start pre-season training.
There aren’t expected to be any tactical sessions next week and it will be mainly fitness related gym work and medical tests. However, Conte still plans to be there and has not been told any different as of yet.
The Italian, who is still widely reported to be sacked by strong sources in the English media from The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Standard, who all have very close links to the club. As well as the Italian press claiming similar, I fully expect Sarri to be the Chelsea manager next season.
But with reports of Napoli’s lawyers in a war with Chelsea officials over the fee’s and legal technicalities surrounding releasing Sarri from his current contract in Naples, and Conte still allegedly planning to return on Monday, this saga is set to drag on over the weekend.
There are rumours that I’ve heard personally that Napoli still want to include David Luiz in the deal for Sarri, but to me that sounds unrealistic, but not impossible.
Sport Italia journalist Alfedo Pedulla has been closely reporting the Sarri story and has received a lot of bad press from blues followers. Perhaps guilty of over hyping the whole story with his ‘hot days expected’ or ‘Key Sarri summit today’ stories, he’s never actually stated when he expects to hear the announcement. But yesterday he has claimed that Sarri will be in place ‘within 48 hours’. Obviously we have all heard that so many times throughout the last 4 weeks, but I think due to this being the first time that Pedulla is giving a solid estimation, maybe, just maybe he could get this right.
There is not one part of me that believes Conte will still be in charge next season and everything I am hearing points towards Sarri being all but done. Conte has lost many key players, and if he stays the implications would be wild. It’s not an option.
But the fact this has dragged on until pretty much the day that the majority of the senior players are due back at Cobham, really should have been utterly avoided. All the targets we have been hearing about and negotiations for certain players, although they have been worked on without the manager situation being clear, they were never going to be sealed until that was sorted.
Chelsea fans once again wait in anticipation of some sort of managerial confirmation over the next few days. I believe there will be a domino affect once the first announcement is made, transfer deals will follow.