Chelsea finalise Conte’s long goodbye with Sarri set to takeover

July 13 – It’s been one of the biggest open secrets of the footballing summer. But it still begs the question as to why a club would sack a manager who, in his first season, wins the Premier League and in his second the FA Cup.

But that’s the reality at Chelsea where Antonio Conte has departed after two years in charge.

The 48-year-old Italian, who had actually returned to pre-season training this week, had one year remaining on his contract but paid the penalty for finishing fifth in the league last season, missing out on Champions League qualification.

Ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri is expected to succeed his compatriot, becoming Chelsea’s ninth full-time manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

During his three years with Napoli, Sarri has not won a major honour but guided the club to second, third and second again – behind Juventus in 2017-18. The former Empoli manager was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

Chelsea simply announced that Conte, the former Italy manager had “parted company” with the club. A 61-word statement ended: “We wish Antonio every success in his future career.”

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