Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri could be on his way back to Italy in the summer, with Serie A giants AS Roma reportedly keen on making him their next manager.
According to a report from Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has emerged as a potential candidate to replace Claudio Ranieri as the AS Roma boss ahead of the next season.
Sarri took over the reins at Chelsea this past summer, after compatriot Antonio Conte was sacked by the West London outfit. The Blues had to pay £4.4 million to Napoli in order to acquire the Italian’s services, while they also had to pay a £9 million compensation to their former manager.
Sarri made a flying start to life with Chelsea, as he became the first-ever manager to remain undefeated throughout his first 12 Premier League fixtures. In fact, post their Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, the Blues went on an 18-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which came to an end in November with a loss to Tottenham.
Things haven’t gone all too well for Sarri and Chelsea since the turn of the year though, which has led to an enormous amount of pressure being heaped on the Italian tactician.
While Chelsea did make it to the final of the Carabao Cup, they have a battle at their hands to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season. Following their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, the Blues are in fifth on the table, level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand.
Chelsea stand a chance of ending the season with a trophy though, as they are one of the strongest teams left in the UEFA Europa League and have a great chance of making it through to the semi-finals of the competition, should they beat Slavia Praha on Thursday night.
Even if Chelsea go on to win the trophy and qualify for the Champions League, Sarri’s job is not safe as the players have not been able to adapt to his methods effectively this season, leading to an over-reliance on star man Eden Hazard. His major outfield signings, Jorginho and Gonzalo Higuain, have also failed to deliver at the expected level, which has added to the pressure on him.
Given his situation, Roma have identified him as a potential replacement for compatriot and former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri at the club for next season. The Giallorossi have already changed managers once this season, getting rid of Eusebio Di Francesco in March, replacing him with Ranieri till the end of the season.
Roma director Franco Baldini has a very good relationship with Sarri and should Chelsea end up cutting ties with him in the summer, he will try to lure him to Stadio Olimpico. The Blues are reportedly looking at Wolves boss Nuno Esprito Santo as a possible candidate to replace him. It remains to be seen if Sarri remains in charge at Chelsea next season, or if he will be returning to Italy.