Recently, Chelsea fans saw the news that Antonio Conte was leaving the club after only two years with the English Premier League club.
After failing to secure UEFA Champions League football this coming season, Chelsea brass decided to part ways with the 48-year-old, and now Conte leaves behind a Premier League title in 2016-17 and an FA Cup triumph in the following season.
Most people may not have enough time to take the news in but it is not a secret that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants his team to constantly be in contention for most titles, so moving on from Conte was expected after a lacklustre campaign.
Now moving on from last season, Chelsea are said to be closing in on another Italian to take Conte’s place, former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri.
For those wondering who Sarri is and what he can bring to the table, here are some information that can help.
Sarri came in to replace then-Napoli coach Rafa Benitez in 2015 as the Serie A squad looked to progress.
It was initially a one-year deal to bring in Sarri and inject an attacking-style of football to Napoli as a direct opposite from the defensive tactic they used under Benitez.
This gamble would prove to work well for the team as Napoli finished as runners-up in Sarri’s first year, falling behind champions Juventus. This would be a great improvement as they were fifth in the table in the previous campaign.
From then he would go on and manage 148 total games for the team, winning 98 and only losing 25. They also came in as runners-up in the recently-concluded season.
After his first year with Napoli, Sarri lost his top striker as Gonzalo Higuain signed on with Juventus for €90 million after scoring 36 goals in the Serie A.
Instead of buying another striker who can replace the Argentine, Sarri made the conscious decision to use the money they earned from the signing to add to their squad depth and to sign new players to address their other tactical issues.
To compensate, Sarri also made a tactical change by moving Dries Mertens to a more central role. Originally played as a wide-forward, Mertens was integrated within a new attacking system that worked to his favour as the Belgian scored 28 goals in the following year as Napoli finished third in the league.
His excellent method has fully transformed the club to a perennial contender, even enjoying a seat atop the Serie A standings in long stretches during his tenure.
BLOWING SMOKE ON TO STAMFORD BRIDGE
Reports have surfaced that Sarri is headed to London to finalise a deal with Chelsea and apparently he is not coming alone.
Along with him is former Napoli midfielder Jorginho who is reportedly ready to move to Chelsea and display his excellent play under the guidance of Sarri.
This should be welcome news for Blues fans as the chain-smoking manager will surely ease into a new country and team with a player who is very familiar with his system.
Add the fact that Chelsea badly need to be injected with a new dimension in their game, having Sarri leading the way and fielding in a player like Jorginho will only bring good things to the London club.
The 2016-17 Serie A Manager of the Year should be a breath of fresh air for Chelsea fans hoping that they can use this coming season to concentrate on winning the league since they do not have UEFA Champions League football to worry about.
Much will still be on the shoulders of Sarri as he is set to take the reins at Stamford Bridge. The ever-present expectation from the owner and the fans may be too much for others to carry, but Sarri appears to be ready and has the tools to make it work.