Antonio Conte "disgusted" with Chelsea treatment as sacking imminent
Chelsea finally ended speculation over Antonio Conte's future by sacking the Italian manager on Thursday afternoon. However, the Italian, who is expected to be replaced by former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri in the near future, is said to be 'disgusted' with his treatment from the West London club.
According to Italian sources, including Gianluca Di Marzio, Conte is set for a legal battle with his former employers over compensation for the remaining year on his three-year contract with the Blues. The Italian is also unhappy with his overall treatment from the club and the delay in his departure - with only a month to go before the 2018/19 Premier League campaig begins.
Chelsea, who are no strangers to relieving managers from their contracts early, claim his sacking his justified, referencing the Italian's handling of Diego Costa's transfer to Atletico Madrid and his increasingly poor relationship with many first-team players as reasons behind Conte's dismissal this month.
Antonio had reported for three days of pre-season training with the senior side this week, due to complications between Napoli and the West London club in reaching an agreement over compensation for Sarri. The Italian coach had even overseen training on Thursday morning before being informed of his impending departure that afternoon.
An eventful two years in charge
The sacking brings to an end a fractious two-year relationship between Chelsea and Conte. After his appointment in the summer of 2016, the Italian enjoyed a hugely successful first season in England, instilling belief in a damaged Chelsea side and leading them to the Premier League title.
However, his second season in charge ended with a limp title defence as his side finished fifth in the Premier League, crucially missing out on Champions League qualification. Despite this, they managed to pick up some silverware by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final in May, though Conte had been anticipating the sack this summer.
The Italian has taken most of his backroom staff with him with only Paolo Bertelli, Carlo Cudicini and goalkeeping coach, Gianluca Spinelli, considering staying at Chelsea for the coming season. It is likely that Conte himself will now take a short break from football while considering his future.
Sarri's arrival imminent: yet another boss in a long list
Sarri, who comes off the back of a wonderful season with Napoli, had been sacked during the summer but remains under contract with the Serie A runners-up. Negotiations for the highly-rated manager's payoff have accelerated over the last 48 hours and are almost completed. It is expected that Chelsea will formally unveil Sarri as their new manager in the very near future.
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and Giovanni Martusciello are expected to join Sarri's backroom staff while Italian-Brazilian midfielder, Jorginho, is currently undergoing a medical at Cobham and will also follow Sarri from Naples to London.
Sarri will become the 12th manager to take over the reins at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich bought the London club in 2003. If Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink's second spells are included, it is the 14th managerial change in only 15 years for Chelsea under the Russian oligarch.
While no official announcement has been made from either Chelsea or Napoli, Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to pay his respects toward Conte.
The Chelsea playmaker thanked his boss for his time at the club and wished him the best for the future, as did both Belgian winger Charly Musonda and midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah (now at Watford) on Instagram.