Maurizio Sarri Closing In As Next Chelsea Manager?

A 'gentleman's agreement' has been reached.

Maurizio Sarri

According to reports in Italy, Napoli will finally allow Maurizio Sarri to join Chelsea, but only if they agree to a 'gentleman's agreement' on transfers. The Italian side want the west London club to effectively promise that they won't poach any players from Sarri's former club.

Despite Sarri being the favourite to be the next Blues manager since the end of the season, the move has been delayed due to Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis allegedly demanding nearly £7 million in compensation. This negotiation, combined with the fact that Chelsea would have to pay current manager Antonio Conte £9 million for the final year of his contract and may have been hoping Conte would find a new job so they could avoid paying that, has been the reason why this saga has dragged on so long.

The unusual 'gentleman's agreement' clause was apparently what caused a breakthrough in negotiations. De Laurentiis was worried that Sarri would raid Napoli to bolster his Chelsea side, with Raul Abiol and Piotr Zielinski having release clauses of £5m and £56m respectively. Furthermore, the agreement would prevent a move for highly-rated centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly who is currently competing at the World Cup for Senegal.

The astronomical fee demanded for Sarri in initial negotiations will now be reduced to a "nominal sum" thanks to Chelsea agreeing to not poach Napoli's players this summer.

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