Premier League: Maurizio Sarri ends turbulent one-year spell at Chelsea to take up vacant managerial position at Juventus

Agence France-Presse
Maurizio Sarri has been announced as the new manager of Juventus after the Italian club reached a deal with Chelsea to release the Italian from his contract.

London: Maurizio Sarri has been announced as the new manager of Juventus after the Italian club reached a deal with Chelsea to release the Italian from his contract at the Premier League club, both clubs announced on Sunday.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said that Sarri had made it clear after the Europa League final of his desire to return to his native country to work and to be near his family and elderly parents.

Sarri met his targets by returning Chelsea to the Champions League via a third-place finish in the Premier League and winning the Europa League, claiming his first major trophy as a coach in the process.

However, a failure to connect with the Chelsea support, public criticism of his players and a refusal to adapt his style of play meant Sarri was always unlikely to hang around for a second season at Stamford Bridge.

The 60-year-old former banker becomes the ninth full-time manager to leave Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took charge of the club in 2003.

Yet, for once the Russian didn't wield the axe and waited instead until Juventus agreed to pay the compensation to free Sarri from the final two years of his contract on Thursday, according to reports in England and Italy.

The Italian champions are keen on the brand of football Sarri imposed during three years at Napoli when only Juventus' remarkable consistency prevented the Neapolitans a first league title since the days when Diego Maradona graced the San Paolo pitch.

However, Sarri failed to transport that free-flowing football to Chelsea, despite making midfield playmaker Jorginho his first signing.

After a brilliant start to the season that saw Sarri's men keep pace with Premier League champions Manchester City and Champions League winners Liverpool, Chelsea fans soon rebelled at a ponderous possession game with little cutting edge.

After a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in January, Sarri labelled his players "very difficult to motivate".


Worse was to come as a 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth was followed by a 6-0 demolition by Manchester City €" Chelsea's heaviest defeat in 28 years.

The players soon started rebelling too. Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted towards the end of the League Cup final to stay on the field for a penalty shootout, which Chelsea lost to City in February.

Supporters also voiced their frustration, calling for Sarri's sacking, during a controversial 2-1 win at relegated Cardiff a month later.

Sarri, though, did manage to end on a high as Chelsea lost just one of their last eight Premier League games while the other contenders for a top-four finish stumbled towards the end of the season.

Eden Hazard then bade farewell in fitting fashion by scoring twice in a 4-1 rout of Arsenal in the Europa League final to ensure Chelsea again ended the season with a trophy despite the turmoil.

Yet, that will be an even tougher test for Sarri's successor without Hazard, who joined Real Madrid earlier this week for a fee in excess of 100 million euros ($113 million).

Chelsea currently cannot recruit a replacement with the club serving a two-window transfer ban handed down by FIFA.

The club's record goalscorer Frank Lampard is the favourite to return to Stamford Bridge after just one season in management at Derby County.

Lampard, 40, led the Rams to the Championship playoff final where they fell just short of a return to the Premier League.

The former England midfielder will not suffer any of the hostility encountered by Sarri in the Chelsea fan base.

But it represents a huge gamble both for Lampard so early in his managerial career to take the huge step up to a top-six job, and for a club in transition to back a rookie manager.

Also See: Serie A: Juventus set to announce Maurizio Sarri as new coach after agreeing on compensation deal with Chelsea

Eden Hazard leaves Chelsea as bonafide legend after maturing from promising talent to seasoned leader

Premier League: Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri wants Serie A return after 'heavy' year in England

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