CHELSEA are ready to dig in for the long haul over Maurizio Sarri’s future.
Even if it means a repeat of last year’s summer-long standoff involving his predecessor, Antonio Conte.
2 Maurizio Sarri is back in Italy, and believed to be holding out for a move to JuventusCredit: AP:Associated Press
Dead man walking Conte took the first sessions of pre-season training before getting the sack in mid-July — leaving incoming Sarri just 22 days to prepare for the first game on August 5.
Chelsea are waiting for Italian champions Juventus to make the first move to appoint Sarri after just one season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are in no rush as they do not want to lose the manager who guided them back into the Champions League and won the Europa League.
The ball is being left in Sarri and Juve’s court to kick off talks to take the head coach back to Italy barely 11 months after his arrival.
Chelsea do not want to miss out on compensation for the remaining two years of Sarri’s contract should he eventually ask to leave.
SARRI OUT IN ITALY
The situation has descended into a tense stalemate with neither side wanting to break the deadlock.
Sarri is back in Italy and showing no signs of wishing to return to England.
But Chelsea would be quite happy if he and Juventus ultimately fail to produce a cast-iron offer to get the deal done.
SunSport revealed exclusively how Chelsea have made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Sarri to stay and continue the progress made in his debut season.
A third-place finish in the Premier League and unifying a traditionally militant dressing room is seen by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy as a sound achievement.
The triumphant finish to the season with a 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League final also marked a huge turnaround in fortune from mid-season when Chelsea were ready to sack Sarri.
LAMPARD TOP CHOICE
Current Derby boss and ex-Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is the fans’ choice to succeed Sarri if he does go.
Former Chelsea No 2 Steve Holland, now assistant manager with England, is another on the club’s radar because of his experience and knowledge of the club.
And while the uncertainty over the hotseat rumbles on, Chelsea also have a transfer ban to contend with.
They learnt yesterday their appeal will NOT be heard until after the summer window shuts.
That means they are likely to be prevented from signing any players for next season.
TRANSFER BAN DRAGS ON
The Blues have appealed to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport against the two-window ban.
But despite filing the appeal last month, Chelsea have not asked CAS to freeze the ban while their case is being considered.
And now CAS has published the list of cases that will be heard over the rest of the summer, with Chelsea not among them.
The list of 18 cases starts today and takes the court in Lausanne up to August 14.
No further cases are expected to be added.
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But with Prem clubs having agreed to stick with last season’s policy and shut the transfer window the day before the season starts on August 9, it means Chelsea appear to have accepted the ban will prevent them making any signings this summer.
Fifa imposed the punishment in February after finding Chelsea guilty of 29 breaches of regulations over transferring minorsm — with the key case being that of their former attacking midfielder Bertrand Traore.
The Blues’ appeal to Fifa was rejected last month with the club’s decision to offer new deals to out-of-contract duo David Luiz and Olivier Giroud a sign they were preparing for a signing-free summer.
2 Chelsea fans would like Frank Lampard to succeed Maurizio Sarri if the Italian leavesCredit: Getty Images – Getty