Chelsea boss Sarri close to Juventus switch
LONDON – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has told the club he wants to leave after a single season to join Italian champions Juventus, according to reports on Saturday.
Sarri has been an uncomfortable fit with fans at Stamford Bridge and despite winning the Europa League this week and finishing third in the Premier League, there is a perception the chain-smoking coach is unwilling to adapt tactics when things go wrong.
Sarri has been widely linked with Juventus, who are seeking a successor to Massimiliano Allegri, although sports daily Gazzetta reported Saturday that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was also on their radar.
Sarri held talks with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia on Friday and informed her that he wanted to return to his homeland, the reports in Britain and Italy said.
Granovskaia, it is said, has promised to talk to club owner Roman Abramovich about his future, but it would seem Chelsea will seek compensation from any suitor.
Sarri succeeded Antonio Conte as Chelsea manager last summer after spending three years at Napoli.
The 60-year-old enjoyed a tremendous start at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea went unbeaten in 18 games.
But Sarri endured consistent criticism from a significant portion of the club's supporters throughout the campaign and suffered heavy 4-0 and 6-0 defeats at Bournemouth and Manchester City.
Chelsea, however, reached the Carabao Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Manchester City, before finishing the season strongly.
Sarri claimed the first major trophy of his career when Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1 in Baku on Wednesday to win the Europa League final, but refused to commit his future to the club, saying: "You know very well that I love the Premier League, the level of the competition, and I am lucky because I am at Chelsea, one of the best teams in the best championship in the world.
"So at the moment I am happy, but of course I want to know if the club is happy, if we can improve.
"It's normal I think; I have a discussion with the owner after every season with every club."
Chelsea are facing a transfer ban next season which could restrict their ability to attract a big name coach.
The club have been linked with their former midfielder Frank Lampard, now the manager of Championship side Derby, should Sarri leave Stamford Bridge.AFP