Chelsea must give Maurizio Sarri 'freedom' to manage - Gianfranco Zola

Chelsea must give Maurizio Sarri 'freedom' to manage - Gianfranco Zola

"[Sarri to Chelsea] is about to happen, it just depends on him", De Laurentiis said after a news conference to introduce Carlo Ancelotti as Sarri's replacement.

Antonio Conte seemed destined to lose his job at Chelsea after failing to qualify for the Champions League. Jorginho? We said to ourselves, 'if Jorginho has any requests, we'll take them into account.' For that, I'll have to apologise to Manchester City.

Conte is also holding out for his £9m and intends to work his past year of his contract unless he gets it, having not had any concrete offers from other clubs and after turning down Italy's interest in re-appointing him.

De Laurentiis has apologised to City for Jorginho's snub, claiming he prefers to live in London and that Chelsea had offered him more money.

Kovacic, 24, was one of two alternative targets briefed to the press by City in June along with Southampton's Mario Lemina, and despite being less defensive than Jorginho, has the technical attributes Pep Guardiola admires in a player.

De Laurentiis, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday to unveil new coach Ancelotti, said: "The Sarri affair is almost at its conclusion, it all depends on him".

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"If Chelsea pay him more, I can understand it too".

He was in charge of the Italian national team before taking over at the Bridge in 2016.

Sarri isn't the only one who boarded a plane in Naples bound for London by the sounds of it, as Jorginho is believed to have made the same trip.

Conte took pre-season training this week but his future has been a source of contention and ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri expected to take over.

Juventus' recent dominance of the Italian top flight was nearly ended by Sarri's swashbuckling Napoli side last season.

Chelsea have also been in talks to sign midfielder Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA Moscow, defender Daniele Rugani from Juventus and goalkeeper Alisson Becker from Roma.

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