Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has backed his former manager Maurizio Sarri to be a success at Chelsea – despite the Italian is yet to be officially appointed as manager of the Blues. Sarri is set to replace Antonio Conte as Chelsea manager, and the Senegalese centre-back believes the club have got a very good manager coming in.
“They [Chelsea] can expect nice football because he is a very good coach.
“I’m disappointed that he leaves like this but we have now a big coach [Carlo Ancelotti]. We know we can win something with him.
“I hope he will win something with Chelsea because he’s a nice coach. When a coach like this comes he needs time. So I think they have to give him time because he will change the football of Chelsea, I think.
“At Napoli we enjoyed it very much as players and the supporters enjoyed it very much. At Chelsea I think it will be the same.”
With former Napoli manager Sarri set to take over at Chelsea, there is the expectation that he will target a number of players from his former club. One player who Sarri would like at Stamford Bridge is Belgian attacker Dries Mertens. The 31-year-old was wanted by Conte in previous windows, but the Chelsea board deemed him too expensive and too old. With Mertens a key player under Sarri at Napoli, he could force the board to change their mind. Mertens did have a £24.5m release clause in his contract, but that expired last week, so the Blues will have to negotiate with the Italian club if they want to sign Mertens.
Another player targeted by Sarri and Chelsea this summer could be Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani. He is another central defender linked with a move to West London this summer. Reports in Italy have suggested that the Blues are close to agreeing a €35m deal for the Italian, with a five-year-deal in the offering. Rugani spent two seasons on loan at Empoli with Sarri, and could reunite at Stamford Bridge.