Chelsea finally parted company with Antonio Conte and they have appointed compatriot Maurizio Sarri to replace the outgoing manager. The fact that the former would be leaving Stamford Bridge was one of the worst kept secrets in football. It became clear that he had fallen out with the board during last season, but both sides have been stubborn and it has taken some time to come to an agreement.
Remarkably, Conte took charge of the start of pre-season before he was dismissed. Chelsea worked hard to bring Sarri in as their next manager, but the time that it has taken to get him into place will make his job more difficult in the immediate future. The club have only weeks to provide their new boss with the players that he needs to get them back into the Champions League.
At times, Chelsea were criticised for their style of play under Antonio Conte. That is one of the chief reasons why Sarri has been targeted. His Napoli side were lauded as one of the most entertaining teams to watch in Europe last season and they came close to securing the Scudetto. Although they fell short, they performed remarkably well and Roman Abramovich will hope that a similar style can be established at Stamford Bridge.
They have been quick to sign Jorginho, who follows Sarri from Napoli. The central midfielder was a pivotal figure for the Chelsea boss last season and he will be given huge responsibility during his first season in the Premier League. He is already accustomed to the style of play and will be given a prominent role as the Italian manager attempts to re-create it in England.
It was an important piece of business for Chelsea to complete, as it provides Sarri with a player to build around. Last season, he completed more passes (3197) than any other player in the major European leagues. Sarri encourages his team to play a quick passing game and he needs a midfielder like Jorginho to make it work. He did so at Napoli and it will be hoped that he can perform the same role at Chelsea.
The Italian international can be trusted in possession as highlighted by his pass success rate of 89.5% in Serie A. He contributes in both halves of the pitch and that is why he will be key for Chelsea. Last season, he contributed two goals and four assists, while he averaged 3.4 ball recoveries per game.
Sarri will be looking to play Jorginho alongside N’golo Kante and that midfield partnership could be a revelation. The former will sit deep and anchor the midfield, while the latter will be given freedom to roam and do what he does best. It has the makings to be one of the best midfields in the league and if the club can find an effective player to be deployed ahead of them, they will be in a strong position.
This is another new dawn for Chelsea and supporters will be forgiven for having doubts about the durability. However, Sarri has proven that he is capable of building a team and he will play a brand that will excite Abramovich. If he is given time, the future will be bright at Stamford Bridge.