The Evening Standard (Simon Johnson) – Roma are willing to match Maurizio Sarri’s £5 million-a-year (€5.8 million) salary at Chelsea to have him as their coach next season. Sarri is back on top of the Serie A club’s wish-list after former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte ruled out a switch to the Stadio Olimpico. Despite achieving Chelsea’s minimum target of qualifying for the Champions League via a top four finish, Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain.
While the 60-year-old has gone on record to say he wants to stay at the west London club, Roma believe he can be lured back to Italy. Sarri signed a two-year contract with the option of a 12-month extension included when he joined Chelsea from Napoli last July. Chelsea are believed to have considered sacking him as results have gone awry in the second half of the campaign and lined up England assistant Steve Holland as a possible caretaker.
The club, who are also in the Europa League semi-finals and are favourites to go through in the second leg at home to Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow night, could still choose to part ways with Sarri in the summer. As Standard Sport revealed in February, there are senior players who will look to leave if he remains in charge, while his relationship with match-going fans has soured.
Just over five weeks ago, Chelsea supporters chanted ‘we want Sarri out’ during a League game at Cardiff and the team were booed off at half-time on Sunday before clinching a 3-0 victory over Watford. Unusually for a Chelsea coach, Sarri didn’t join in the traditional ‘lap of appreciation’ following the club’s final home league game and opted to just stand by the dug-out instead.
Roma have been keen on Sarri for some time but decided to make an ambitious move for Conte, who was fired by Chelsea last summer, instead. They met with Conte on three occasions, were willing to offer him a big wage and employ his close friend Gianluca Petrachi to be the club’s new sporting director. Roma were growing in confidence last week that Conte would join, but the former Italy coach is waiting to see what other offers come in with posts at Juventus and Inter Milan possibly becoming available, as well as at Paris Saint Germain.
Speaking about Roma’s bid for his services, Conte said: “Today, the conditions are not there. I need to have the perception that I can beat anyone. I need to feel that winning is possible. Otherwise, I will happily stay where I am. I have a problem: winning. It is the goal of my work. The way there involves work, sacrifice, a unity of purpose, of thinking about us and not about me. I don’t know any other way.”
Roma, who only gave Claudio Ranieri a contract until the end of the season when hiring him in February, have back-up options for their next permanent coach should Sarri stay at Chelsea. It includes Atalanta’s Gian Piero Gasperini and Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo.