3 things Chelsea fans can expect if Maurizio Sarri takes charge
Two weeks since the end of the season, Chelsea still seem to be stuck in a state of limbo. There has been no further communication regarding the future of Antonio Conte, but the growing consensus is that the ever-revolving doors at Stamford Bridge will also see the feisty Italian shunted out, after just two years in charge.
Fellow countryman and Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has been touted as the front-runner to occupy the Chelsea hot-seat come next season. The foul-mouthed chain-smoking maverick has earned great plaudits for his success in challenging Juventus' domination of the Serie A.
With a particularly attacking style of play that turned Napoli into one of Europe's most attractive sides, Sarri has paid great focus to get the best out of every player he has coached. A big feature of the Italian's tactics has been high-octane pressing with ball-playing defenders to build from the back, and short swift passing to keep possession.
If Sarri were to indeed take the Chelsea job, young players like Christensen, Ampadu, Barkley and Bakayoko could find a new level to their game, allowing the Blues to invest big in retaining Hazard and signing attackers to match the mercurial Belgian's ambitions.
Here are 3 things Chelsea fans could expect from Maurizio Sarri.
#3 Sarri ball
In part inspired by the dominant possession football of Guardiola’s Barcelona, ‘Sarri-Ball’ was played to perfection by Napoli, who combined short, quick passes aimed at drawing the opponent forward to press before they played through the lines and broke quickly up the field.
It has spurned some of the most exciting team goals seen this season, where Napoli stars showed their insane understanding of the system to play forward passes to a player under pressure who could then bounce it back to an onrushing teammate with the perfect outcome - someone on the ball, in space, facing forward.
The use of drones and video analysis to iron out flaws in preparation was made popular by the Italian during his time at Empoli. Nicknamed "Mr. 33" for once preparing 33 different set-piece routines, Sarri has been greatly praised by the legendary Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi.
"Sarri tries to interpret football in a positive manner, to be a protagonist and not to follow others. He is a genius. When I was technical director with the Italy youth teams, I always went to watch kids in Serie B, and I was already impressed by his Empoli." - Sacchi
Gifted players like Willian and Fabregas would be itching to be part of an ultra-attacking outfit that looks to score goals at will, and under Sarri's tutelage, Chelsea could be the team most capable of challenging Pep's City for the title.
Although appointing Sarri would be a marked difference from the pragmatic game-managing tactics of Mourinho and Conte, this is a risk the Blues hierarchy would consider well worth taking. And when Guardiola himself praises a manager as being one of the world's best, you have to sit up and take note.
“I have no doubts that Sarri is one of the best managers out there. He achieved something incredible with Napoli. His style of football is as good as a drink in the sun. It was great to see Napoli games. It would be a pleasure to meet him in England.” - Pep on Sarri.