x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 July 2018

Chelsea sack manager Antonio Conte, according to reports

Former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri expected to replace his fellow Italian at the Stamford Bridge helm

Antonio Conte won the Premier League and the FA Cup during his two years in charge of Chelsea. EPA
Antonio Conte won the Premier League and the FA Cup during his two years in charge of Chelsea. EPA

Chelsea have sacked manager Antonio Conte, according to British media reports.

The Italian had been expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the conclusion of the 2017/18 Premier League season in which Chelsea finished fifth but did lift the FA Cup after beating Manchester United in the final at Wembley.

There was no immediate confirmation from the club. The former Italy manager had a year remaining on his current contract and had already taken charge of pre-season preparations at the club's Cobham training ground.

It has been widely reported that Conte's replacement will be Maurizio Sarri. On Wednesday Aurelio De Laurentiis, the Napoli president, told reporters that the West London club were close to agreeing a deal for the Italian to replace Conte.

Sarri, 59, led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finish in three seasons in charge at the club.

Conte's departure marks the end of a turbulent final 12 months in England. After guiding the club to the Premier League title in his debut season in 2016 the former Juventus manager spent much of last season often at loggerheads with the club's hierarchy, particularly over player transfers, and was criticised for ostracizing former striker Diego Costa, telling the Spaniard via text message that he was no longer part of his plans last summer.

_________________

Read more:

Ian Hawkey: Juventus prove their pulling power and offer Ronaldo a new platform to chase more titles

Richard Jolly: Signing of Riyad Mahrez fits the Manchester City blueprint

_________________

If the reports prove to be true, Chelsea would be looking for a 13th permanent manager of Roman Abramovich's ownership, which began in June 2003.

This is arguably the most turbulent time of Abramovich's ownership.

The Russian's visa issues, the indefinite halting of plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge and the challenge for consistent on-field success all point to difficult times ahead.