Chelsea are closing in on securing the services of Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri as a replacement for Antonio Conte.

Chelsea have taken a huge step towards appointing current Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri as the successor for current boss Antonio Conte for the next season, as per reports from the Mirror.

Conte’s time at the helm of things at the Stamford Bridge is drawing to a close with every passing day, after what has been a disappointing 2017/18 campaign.  The former Juventus and Italy boss took over the reins in the summer of 2016 and masterminded a Premier League triumph in his debut season. However, things have hardly gone well for Conte and his champion side this time out.

Chelsea currently occupy the fifth place in the league standings, five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, with their hopes of qualifying for the next season’s UEFA Champions League looking very bleak. They do still have a chance of finishing the season with a trophy, given that they are in the semifinals of the FA Cup, where they will be taking on Southampton this weekend.

However, even if Chelsea go on to win the cup, Conte’s exit from the club is pretty much sealed. The Italian is understood to have irked the hierarchy by his constant criticism of the transfer policy throughout the course of the campaign, resulting in a fall-out which has reached a stage beyond repair.

From Naples to West London? (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

From Naples to West London? (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

And the Blues have identified on Conte’s compatriot, Sarri, as the possible replacement ahead of the next season and the Napoli boss is understood to have indicated that he is willing to move to the Premier League at the end of the season.

The West London outfit were reported to be looking at Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri as well as former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, but seem to have narrowed down on Sarri as the right man to take the club forward.

The 59-year old has done a marvellous job since taking over from Rafael Benitez at Napoli in 2015. The Partenopei currently sit second in the Italian Serie A, four points off of leaders Juventus, as they look to end the Old Lady’s six-year stranglehod on the Scudetto.

Sarri’s side have been known to play a brand of fluid, attacking football which would represent a huge departure from Chelsea’s current system of defensive football under Conte. However, the 59-year old’s experience at the top level is something that could be a bone of contention, given that he has only four years of management experience in the Serie A.

Weighing in all factors, appointing Sarri would be a calculated risk for the Blues, that could pay off rich dividends. However, the 59-year old will have a huge task at his hands to turn things around after their meek surrender of the Premier League title this season.

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