Chelsea are braced for huge changes this summer following a successful campaign that saw them win the Europa League and secure Champions League football for next season.
Despite landing a European trophy, and the first major title of his career, manager Maurizio Sarri is edging closer to becoming the new head coach of Serie A giants Juventus.
The London Evening Standard reports that the 60-year-old admits that he “misses” Italy and informed Chelsea that he plans to leave after just 12 months in charge.
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Italian outlet Corriere della Sera says Chelsea have accepted Sarri’s request to leave and that Juve are ready to offer him a three-year contract worth £6.22m per season.
Sarri is not expected to be the only high-profile departure this summer as talisman Eden Hazard looks likely to become a Real Madrid player after months of speculation.
The Daily Telegraph says Chelsea are “locked in talks” over the Sarri and Hazard exits ahead of what promises to be a “summer of change”.
Clubs haggle over Hazard fee
Hazard’s dream move to Real Madrid may have to wait, says the Standard, because of this week’s international break and Sarri’s departure.
After scoring twice in the 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League final the playmaker said that “maybe now it is the time for a new challenge”.
Real head coach Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Pérez are keen to make Hazard their next “Galactico” signing.
AS reports that Real general director Jose Angel Sanchez is flying to London this week to meet Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia. However, the two clubs are still “haggling” over the Belgian’s transfer fee, Metro adds.
Goal.com says the Spaniards are making a “final push” to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu. Chelsea want €130m (£115m), but Real hope to pay closer to €100m (£89m).
Juve move a ‘betrayal’ to Napoli fans
Like Sarri, Italian midfielder Jorginho also made the move to Chelsea last summer from Napoli. When asked about Sarri’s potential switch to Juve, Jorginho said it could be seen as a “betrayal” to fans of their former club in Naples.
Jorginho said: “It was a good first season in Chelsea. It would be sad for everyone. The Napoli fans still have him in their hearts; it’s normal that they could get angry. They could treat it as a betrayal; they’re like that. We’ll see what happens.”
Gracia to replace Sarri?
With Sarri likely to vacate the Chelsea dugout who will the Blues bring in as their next manager? Sources have told ESPN that Watford head coach Javi Gracia is under consideration to take the reigns at Stamford Bridge.
Spaniard Gracia impressed this year after leading Watford to the FA Cup final and ESPN says his playing style and coaching ability has “caught the eye of the Chelsea hierarchy”.
Chelsea icon Frank Lampard, who is in charge at Derby County, and former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri have also been mentioned as possible candidates.
Allegri’s chances could be harmed though, the Daily Star reports, because Chelsea are “reluctant” to appoint a third successive Italian manager after Sarri and Antonio Conte.
Lampard the bookies’ favourite
According to Oddschecker Derby boss Lampard is favourite for the Chelsea job ahead of Nice head coach Patrick Vieira, Allegri and Gracia.
Football.London’s Chelsea correspondent Oliver Harbord looked as the positives and negatives of appointing a club icon.
Harbord said: “For many Chelsea fans, Lampard is the front runner and to have a Chelsea legend in charge would be the perfect way to reinvigorate the connection between supporters and the head coach.
“The main negative is just experience. The former Blues midfielder has only one year of management under his belt.
“It would be a real step up to manage Chelsea, dealing with the added pressure and also in European football with Champions League returning to Stamford Bridge.”
Next Chelsea manager betting odds
Prices according to Oddschecker (as of 4 June):
- Frank Lampard: 8/15
- Patrick Vieira: 4/1
- Massimiliano Allegri: 7/1
- Javi Gracia: 8/1
- Jose Mourinho: 16/1
- Ralph Hasenhuttl: 20/1
- Diego Simeone: 25/1
- Nuno Espirito Santo: 25/1
- Laurent Blanc: 25/1
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