In a long anticipate move, Chelsea has parted ways with manager Antonio Conte and is looking to appoint former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as his replacement.
The move was made official earlier Thursday morning when the club finished negotiating a buyout for the final year of Conte’s contract.
Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2016-17, his first year on the job after taking over for Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink. The team fell off in terms of form last season, but they still managed to win the FA Cup last May.
Conte’s relationship with several senior players, as well as Chelsea’s board of directors, sealed his fate. He had been holding out since the end of the season, hoping to receive the full payment for the final year of his contract before leaving.
As for Sarri, he managed at Napoli last season where he led them to a second place finish behind perennial champions Juventus for the second time in three years at the club. This will be his first stop outside of Italy. His managerial career began in 2005 with Pescara and he bounced around with six other lower-level Italian clubs before landing with Napoli.
He takes over a club that will hopefully gain some stability this offseason. Several key names like Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard have been waiting for Conte’s future to be determined before signing long term deals. Chelsea is also hoping to sign Italy international midfielder Jorginho. It’s likely the Sarri move and that Jorginho addition could be announced at the same time.