Maurizio Sarri wants Gianfranco Zola to join him at Chelsea with the Italian growing in confidence that progress is being made on his bid to succeed Antonio Conte.
Aurelio De Laurentiis, the Napoli president, has confirmed he is ready to negotiate Sarri’s release, with Italian sources claiming his compensation demand has now dropped to £3.5 million.
That may still be too much for Chelsea, who have been watching to see whether Sarri’s lawyers can clinch his release from Napoli. But, while progress has been slow, there is now a feeling that a solution could be found.
Reports from Italy claiming Sarri could be appointed as early as Monday are said to be premature, with Chelsea yet to formally sack head coach Conte.
It had been hoped that a mutual split might be found that saw Conte move straight into another job, but that appears increasingly unlikely and the 48-year-old is more likely to take time out and collect his full £9m pay-off.
But, regardless of Conte, Sarri is beginning to prepare for a move to Stamford Bridge and has identified Zola as the perfect man to help him transition from Serie A to the Premier League.
There would be space either within the coaching set up or in a technical capacity for Zola, with some of Conte’s staff expected to follow him through the exit and with Chelsea having yet to replace former sporting director Michael Emenalo.
With Sarri speaking only limited English and having never coached outside Italy, Zola could help him with the language and also with settling into Premier League football.
On Sarri, De Laurentiis said: “I am here to discuss and have already said that, if called, I would be reasonable.” #BlueIsTheColour #CFC #CFCFans #CFCFamily #CFCTillIDie #BPL #EPL #PremierLeague #PreSeason #CFCTour #Champions #ComeOnYouBlues #PremierLeagueChampions #ChelseaFC #COYB #KTBFFH #IfItsNotBlueItWillBe #CFCArmy #TheBlues #Chelsea_KTBFFH #ChelseaFans #ChelseaKWT #CFCNews #CFCTransfers #CFCTour #AntonioConte #Conte