It took way longer than anticipated, but Chelsea have finally announced Maurizio Sarri as their new coach on. He was effectively replaced at Napoli by Carlo Ancelotti on May 23rd, with the president Aurelio De Laurentiis unwilling to wait any longer. The Blues took their time to sort out what to do with Antonio Conte’s conspicuous severance pay and the two parts seems headed to a messy divorce after the firing. A frontrunner all along, Sarri beat Laurent Blanc and Luis Enrique for the job and will be assisted by Gianfranco Zola.
The Blues also had to negotiate with the Partenopei because release clause in the contract of the manager had expired. It is being rumoured that the clubs put together a gentleman agreement that will prevent the English team from going after other players besides Jorginho, whose acquisition is already official.
Famous for his proactive style, Sarri is coming off a marvellous campaign, where the Azzurri broke the club’s record for points, collecting 91 in total, but were unable to unseat Juventus, despite defeating them at home in the final portion of the season. They were eliminated in the group stage in Champions League, finishing behind Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk, in the round of 32 in Europa League, by the hands of RB Leipzig, and in the round of 16 in Coppa Italia, by Atalanta.
A former bank employee, Sarri paid his duties for over 15 years in the lower leagues. His first big break came at Empoli in 2013/2014, where they dominated Serie B and got promoted. The following year, they easily avoided relegation, showing a very exciting brand of football despite the situation, and that earned him a call at Napoli. In Campania, he finished second twice and third once.
In Tuscany, he used mainly 4-3-1-2, but then switched to a trident to better accommodate the talent he had at his disposal at Napoli. The foundations of his carefully organized system are a strong back-line, which got increasingly better over his years at San Paolo, high pressing, ball possession, cuts and through balls. His tactics enhance the skills of the centre-forward: Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens had their best campaigns under him. He has been at times been criticized for his short rotation and for not trusting some youngsters, even though he is a proficient player developer.
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