Chelsea football club have sacked Antonio Conte, 48, as their manager after reaching a £9million agreement to terminate his contract.
Ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, 59, is to replace him at Stamford Bridge with former Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola expected to be his No 2.
Should Sarri be appointed, he would be Chelsea’s ninth full-time manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
Owner Roman Abramovich has risked paying Conte his full £9million compensation bill with the Italian ready to take a year out if no big jobs become available.
The club have refused to comment on the status of the 48-year-old, who won the Premier League title in his first season and the FA Cup in May.
Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas has thanked Conte on social media and wished him “luck for the future”
He would have frozen out David Luiz, Willian and others, while Chelsea feared that Eden Hazard would not sign a new contract if Conte stayed on and were worried by his relationship with key players.