If I had a millionaire’s foresight I would have bought the domain name “hascontebeensackedyet.com” and plastered it with all sorts of ads – your pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-overs and what have you. And instead of sitting at my desk and collecting Chelsea news and transfer gossip from all over the interwebs, I would have been lying on a beach in Majorca lighting cigars with $10 notes. But I did not, so I cannot. And so, with much regret, let’s see what we have for you today.
As if the first line of this piece wasn’t a dead giveaway, here’s the latest on the Chelsea managerial manhunt – Conte has not been sacked yet. Or at least we don’t know whether he has been sacked yet. When he, inevitably, does get sacked Conte is supposedly keen on taking a sabbatical from football. I wouldn’t blame him; it’s not easy managing a club like Chelsea and keeping their notoriously fickle fanbase happy. Most of them are just waiting to publish #ConteOut tweets they saved in drafts six months ago. Anyway, if Conte does not take up another job Chelsea will have to pay him for up to a year, as part of his contract. And that seems to be the holdup in handing out Conte’s P45. There were rumours that boot may meet butt in the next 48 hours, but all we can do for now is wait for an official statement.
One of the candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant position is Maurizio Sarri, whose contract negotiations with Napoli have ended on a sour note. He is now certain to quit, although there is no concrete news about his €8 million buyout. No one except Napoli and Sarri seems to know whether the buyout even exists and if it does, for how long it is valid. Zenit St. Petersburg tried their luck but Sarri turned them down, if you believe the reports coming in from Italy.
Napoli, for their part, are already planning for a post-Sarri life, with former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti lined up as Sarri’s replacement. But until Sarri’s future is decided, Ancelotti and his eyebrows must be patient. It is a Sarri state of affairs, and everything hinges on Conte’s exit.
Another man eyeing the exit is Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim. He is also on the list of candidates that Chelsea have supposedly sounded out, and talks are planned between him and Monaco to discuss his future sometime this week. There were rumours that Jardim was spotted in London, but you could spot a Yeti in London if you look hard enough. So, yeah, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it.
With no clue about who will be the next Chelsea manager, Thibaut Courtois has pitched his tent at the Stamford Bridge exit and will demand a transfer to PSG. Courtois has barely a year left on his contract and has apparently decided to sling his hook. I would not dismiss this one as idle speculation, seeing as it was reported by the respected Belgian journalist, Kristof Terreur, who knows his stuff. The report goes on to say that Courtois has already spoken to PSG, and will look to force a move in the summer.
So Chelsea would not only need a new manager, but quite possibly, a new goalkeeper as well. And at least one new midfielder. And probably a winger. And a centre-back. And a striker, if Morata sods off back to Italy. And did I mention a new Director of Football? Add that one to the list. And a manager. Oh, I think I already noted that one, but let’s add another one for when we sack the first new manager in mid-season.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chelsea Football Club – never a dull moment here.