The wait for Juventus to announce Massimiliano Allegri’s successor might be coming to an end.
According to the reports, all but the fine details of Sarri’s release from Chelsea are settled after face-to-face negotiations between Juve general manager Fabio Paratici and Mariana Granovskaia, the right-hand woman of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Sky maintain that the Blues were initially holding out for €6 million in compensation for the coach, but that was negotiated down to an undisclosed lower number, including performance-based bonuses. Barring any unforeseen obstacles, Sarri could have his contract with the London club terminated by Friday at the earliest. He will then be free to sign a three-year contract with Juve.
Di Marzio further maintains on his own web site that Chelsea had not wanted to get in the way of the deal but had wanted time to secure a replacement for Sarri. That will reportedly be Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who recently guided Derby County to the promotion playoff final in the English second tier.
While we’ve seen a couple of false starts on the Sarri-to-Juve news in the last week or so, these reports include more details than previous bulletins, including the reunion of Sarri with Giovanni Martuschiello, his top assistant when he was at Empoli. Martuschiello didn’t follow Sarri to Napoli, instead succeeding him at the Tuscan club. He was most recently Luciano Spalletti’s assistant at Inter and was dismissed along with the rest of Spalletti’s staff at season’s end. Sky reports that he will reunited with Sarri in Turin.
If the reports are accurate, it will finally bring an end to an excruciating wait—as well as crush the dreams of those still clinging to the idea of Pep Guardiola leaving Manchester City to come to Juventus. Sarri’s lone season at Chelsea was a productive one. He put the team back into the top four of the English Premier League, reached the final of the English League Cup, and won the club’s second Europa League title, crushing Arsenal 4-1 in the final. He came to prominence with Empoli in 2014, when he led the team back to Serie A for the first time since 2007-08. After keeping the team up, he was poached by Napoli, where he maintained the Partenopei’s status as Juve’s most consistent domestic challengers while perfecting an entertaining, flowing style of football that became known as Sarrismo and garnered praise for being the best in Italy—even though it never managed to upend Juve at the top of the table.
The expectations that would fall on Sarri’s shoulders will be immense. He would be tasked with doing what Max Allegri couldn’t: end Juventus’ 23-year-long wait for a Champions League crown while simultaneously maintaining their historic domestic dominance and raising the team’s level of play, which had become abysmal at times during Allegri’s final season. It’s worth pointing out that his contract and Cristiano Ronaldo’s would end in the same year—whether or not he would stay with the team beyond that would likely depend entirely on whether he can reach the goals Ronaldo was brought in to help achieve. If Juve fall short—or if they look just as wonky as they did this past year—he’ll be in trouble quickly.
Like we said, there have been a few false starts on this story in the last week, and things are never settled until the clubs announce it themselves, but watch this space for updates.