The Telegraph (Matt Law) – Roma are ready to offer Maurizio Sarri an escape route out of Chelsea after former Blues head coach Antonio Conte turned down an offer from the Italian club. Conte was Roma’s first choice to succeed Claudio Ranieri in the summer, but the 49 year-old has rejected their approach to wait for a better offer. Sarri is number 2 on Roma’s list and sources in Italy believe the 60 year-old would be open to a return to his homeland.
An approach from Roma would also save Chelsea a tricky decision over their coach, who has succeeded in guiding the club back into the Champions League but remains unpopular with a large section of fans. Large groups of Chelsea fans have chanted against Sarri and his style of football this season and it was telling that he did not join in the traditional ‘lap of appreciation’ at the end of the final home Premier League game of the season against Watford. Sarri stood at the end of the tunnel and but did not wave or clap towards the supporters who had stayed behind.
Chelsea had been on the brink of sacking Sarri on two separate occasions this season, with England assistant Steve Holland lined up as his interim replacement, but on both occasions saved his job. The Stamford Bridge hierarchy were pleasantly surprised that Sarri’s team managed to clinch Champions League qualification with a Premier League game to spare and Chelsea could also make it through to the Europa League final by beating Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night. Winning the Europa League would be seen as a success and lifting a trophy, together with a top-four finish and a Carabao Cup final appearance, would have to be viewed as a good first season in charge for Sarri.
Meanwhile, Chelsea and Conte should find out the result of the Premier League arbitration tribunal over the terms of his exit in the coming days, with the former Juventus man claiming he should have been paid around £9 million in compensation after being sacked.