Chelsea have sacked Antonio Conte as their manager after finally reaching a £9million agreement to terminate his contract.
The club have been keen to get rid of the Italian for a considerable amount of time and now have plans in place for Maurizio Sarri to come in as his replacement with Stamford Bridge icon Gianfranco Zola expected to be his No 2.
Conte left his position at Chelsea on Thursday morning and said his goodbyes to the players and staff at the club’s Cobham training ground.
He had also prepared a pre-season schedule but will no longer carry the team forward as the club continues to negotiate with Napoli over a fee for Sarri’s release.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is understood to have convened a meeting in Capri earlier this week with Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis to go over the finer details of Sarri’s appointment.
The Chelsea players and staff were subsequently given the afternoon off from pre-season training and are not expected to return for a session until later this week.
Despite question marks looming over his future, Conte had attempted to carry on as normal by returning to work last Saturday to begin Chelsea’s pre-season preparations.
Arezzo – 2006-07
Record: P12 W3 D5 L4
Bari – 2007-09
Record: P67 W32 D20 L15
Atalanta – 2009-10
Record: P14 W3 D4 L7
Siena – 2010-11
Record: P44 W22 D14 L8
Juventus – 2011-14
Record: P152 W102 D35 L15
Italy – 2014-16
Record: P25 W14 D7 L4
Chelsea – 2016-18
Record: P106 W69 D17 L20
Serie B title x1 (2008-09)
Serie A title x3 (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14)
Italian Super Cup winner x1 (2013-14)
Premier League title x1 (2016-17)
FA Cup winner x1 (2017-18).
Pescara – 2005-06
Record: P42 W14 D12 L16
Record: P16 W4 D7 L5
Avellino – 2007-07
Record: P8 W5 D0 L3
Hellas Verona – 2008-08
Record: P6 W0 D1 L5
Perugia – 2008-09
Record: P18 W5 D8 L5
Alessandria – 2010-11
Record: P36 W15 D13 L8
Empoli – 2012-15
Record: P132 W52 D45 L35
Napoli – 2015-18
Record: P147 W97 D25 L25
Won promotion to Serie A (2013-14)
Serie B Manager of the Year (2013-14)
Serie A Manager of the Year (2015-16).
The Italian’s views were also not correspondent with the club’s powerbrokers, who finally made the decision to sack him due to fears he would instigate an overhaul of the playing squad had he remained in charge for the 12-month duration left on his deal.
Chelsea also feared that Eden Hazard would not sign a new deal if Conte stayed on and were worried by his relationship with key players, including David Luiz and Willian.
The saga surrounding Conte’s future at the club rumbled on for 63 days – when he led Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph over Manchester United in his last game in charge – which was due in part to Napoli’s refusal to allow Sarri out of his contract.