Maurizio Sarri Agrees to Terminate Chelsea Contract to Become Juventus Manager

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Maurizio Sarri the manager of Chelsea looks dejected during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Etihad Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Juventus confirmed on Sunday that Maurizio Sarri has been appointed as the club's new manager. 

Chelsea said in a statement on their official website that an "early termination" of the Italian's contract had been agreed to allow him to move to the Italian champions. It also included quotes from Blues director Marina Granovskaia:

"In talks we had following the Europa League final, Maurizio made it clear how strongly he desired to return to his native country, explaining that his reasons for wanting to return to work in Italy were significant.

"He also believed it important to be nearer his family, and for the well-being of his elderly parents he felt he needed to live closer to them at this point.

"Maurizio leaves Chelsea with thanks from us all for the work he and his assistants did during the season he spent as our head coach, and for winning the Europa League, guiding us to another cup final and a third-place finish in the Premier League."

Sarri departs less than a year after he was appointed by the Blues from Napoli. His side won the UEFA Europa League final on May 29, thrashing Arsenal 4-1 in the Italian's last competitive game in charge.

Sarri heads to Turin to replace Massimiliano Allegri, who left the Bianconeri at the end of the 2018-19 term after winning five Serie A titles in his five years at the club.

Sarri, who excelled in Serie A during his time at Napoli, will link up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, a situation Italian football journalist David Amoyal said he would not have envisaged:

The 60-year-old moved to Chelsea following a drawn-out contract termination process with Napoli, and the Blues have agreed a similar deal—albeit much more efficiently—leading to his return to Serie A.

The Mirror's John Cross wrote that Sarri's exit could open the door for the return of club legend Frank Lampard, who is currently manager of Derby County.

Sarri said in February he expected to be manager of Chelsea "for a long time," per Joe Wright of Goal. In the same month, his position was called into question when goalkeeper and record-signing Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted in extra time of the Carabao Cup final.

Kepa had shown signs of cramp prior to his number going up, and Sarri was left incensed with his No. 1 at Wembley Stadium when the player appeared to undermine him: 

However, despite this flashpoint, the team recovered to enjoy a strong end to the season, finishing third in the Premier League and securing the Europa League trophy.

There was excitement among the supporters when Sarri became Chelsea manager, based not only on the positive work he had done at Napoli, but the style of football he implemented with the Serie A side.

The brand of play is known as "Sarri-ball," which consists of a possession-based philosophy, pressing high up the pitch and moving the ball quickly.

At times during the campaign, the Chelsea supporters made their feelings on the blueprint clear: 

While some Blues fans will be happy to see the back of Sarri, whoever does come in to replace him will have a big challenge on their hands, especially given Chelsea have been banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows by FIFA.

In addition, there are squad matters to resolve, particularly after Eden Hazard joined Real Madrid and left a sizeable void in the Chelsea attack.

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