Chelsea transfer news: Maurizio Sarri’s camp increasingly confident he will replace Antonio Conte as manager

The key could be Chelsea agreeing a deal with the Serie A club for Sarri, even though that may involve a hefty release clause

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Friday 15 June 2018 15:20 BST
Summer transfer window 2018: Latest Premier League deals and rumours round-up

Chelsea have finally made progress in pursuit of a new boss, with Maurizio Sarri's camp now increasingly confident he will get the job, although a lot of work still has to be done to conclude the deal.

Macedonian agent Fali Ramadani is due to speak to Napoli this weekend, to try and bring things, and finally break what has been a complicated and extreme stand-off, involving a lot of brinkmanship.

It is widely known that Antonio Conte will leave this summer, but the terms of that have not yet been agreed, even though owner Roman Abramovich now sees Sarri as by far his number-one choice, with the Italian still contracted to Napoli even though they themselves have secured Carlo Ancelotti as his replacement.

The key could be Chelsea agreeing a deal with the Serie A club for Sarri, even though that may involve a hefty release clause, but this is what Ramadani is trying to push through and there is now a feeling it could happen. Sources close to the situation estimate there is still a week's work to do.

It is understood that Sarri has similarly spoken to a few Napoli players about the possibility of bringing them to Chelsea, most notably Dries Mertens. The fact that so many Napoli players have relatively low release clauses could also more quickly facilitate Sarri's work at Stamford Bridge, and aid Chelsea's rebuilding at a point when Abramovich is not spending as much money.

Mertens for example has a buy-out of £28m, Faouzi Ghoulam £38m, Raul Albiol £5m and Jose Callejon £20m.

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