Chelsea officials reportedly held a seven-hour meeting with managerial candidate Maurizio Sarri on Thursday as the Stamford Bridge club sound out the former Napoli boss over possibly replacing fellow countryman Antonio Conte in west London this summer.
Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla tweeted that the meeting did not finish until 9pm. It seemingly left Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich certain that he wants the 59-year-old in charge next season, which means talks with Conte must now take place.
The current boss is unwilling to quit and could be entitled to up to £9m in compensation should the club prematurely terminate his employment without a prearranged understanding.
A report from the London Evening Standard concurs with Pedulla about Thursday’s meeting, while revealing that further talks with Sarri are scheduled for Friday. Fabrizio Romano, writing for the Guardian, has additionally reported on a planned meeting for Friday.
Despite guiding Napoli to a second place Serie A finish, Sarri has already been replaced at Stadio San Paolo by former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
If everything does go to plan and Sarri is hired by Chelsea, the Standard’s report notes that he has already put forward his preferred transfer targets: four players from his Napoli side.
Definitely on the list are Albanian right-back Elseid Hysej, veteran centre-back Raul Albiol and central midfielder Piotr Zielinski. He is also said to favour centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and would recommend that Chelsea go after him as well.