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Chelsea appoint Sarri to replace Conte

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NEWS
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991   //    14 Jul 2018, 14:10 IST
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Former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea have ended months of speculation by appointing former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as their new head coach on a three-year contract.

The Italian replaces compatriot Antonio Conte, who departed Stamford Bridge on Friday after a long-running saga over his future.

Conte had a year to run on his contract and delivered the Premier League title in his first season, but FA Cup success last term masked a disappointing fifth-place finish and problems with the club's hierarchy.

Sarri has long been the favourite to succeed Conte, but contractual wrangles for both managers delayed the appointment.

Speaking to his new club's official website, Sarri said: "I am very happy to be coming to Chelsea and the Premier League. It is an exciting new period in my career.

"I look forward to starting work and meeting the players on Monday ahead of travelling to Australia, where I will be able to get to know the squad and begin our match action. 

"I hope we can provide some entertaining football for our fans and that we will be competing for trophies at the end of the season, which is what this club deserves."

The 59-year-old was replaced at Napoli by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti in May after guiding the Partenopei to two second-place finishes and one third spot across his three seasons in charge.

Following the confirmation of Sarri's move to Stamford Bridge, Napoli paid tribute to him.

"The club would like to thank Maurizio Sarri for the work he has done over the past three years," read a statement from the Serie A side.

"Through the job he did, the players at this club have grown and improved, showing themselves to be top players and developing a style of play appreciated the world over.

"We hope Maurizio finds, wherever he goes, that same warmth, respect and affection he enjoyed from everyone at the club and in this city. Best of luck, Maurizio!"

Chelsea hailed Sarri's "scintillating brand of expansive, attacking football" in their announcement, sentiments echoed by club director Marina Granovskaia.

Granovskaia said: "We are delighted to welcome Maurizio and are looking forward to him bringing his football philosophy to Chelsea.

"Maurizio's Napoli side played some of the most exciting football in Europe, impressing with their attacking approach and dynamism, and his coaching methods significantly improved the players at his disposal.

"He has plenty of experience in Serie A and the Champions League and we know he is relishing the chance to work in the Premier League."

Sarri is reportedly set to bring Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola back to the club as his number two, as well as sealing the signing of midfielder Jorginho from his former club Napoli.

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