Maurizio Sarri lined up to replace sacked Antonio Conte

Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea believe that appointing Maurizio Sarri will help keep Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Willian at Stamford Bridge, according to The Sun.

Neither Chelsea nor Conte's representatives would comment on the nature of his sacking, but Italian sources described him as being "disgusted" by the way it has been handled.

Despite news of Conte's departure breaking and players paying their own tributes on social media, Chelsea did not confirm his exit as lawyers haggled over the terms of his pay-off.

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Chelsea at The London Stadium, in east London on December 9, 2017.

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Kovacic has made 109 appearances in his three seasons at Madrid, winning the Champions League three times, but with countryman Luka Modric occupying one of Europe's best midfields, has not yet been able to command a regular starting place.

Jorginho is a big coup for Chelsea. Gianfranco Zola could also return to Chelsea as part of the backroom or technical staff.

Others perhaps had even more obvious reasons to fall out with the manager even if it was never clear whether they actually did, in particular David Luiz, whom he exiled from the team at the beginning of last season.

One player that Sarri hasn't worked with but who has been linked with a move to Chelsea is Russian star Alexandr Golovin off the back of an excellent European campaign last season followed by an exceptional World Cup for the hosts. Higuain is keen to make the move from Juventus to Chelsea and become their main man, as the Chelsea board seem to lose faith with Alvaro Morata in front of goal. Sarri used powerful yet technically gifted midfielders at Napoli such as Amadou Diawara and Allan, so Loftus-Cheek could feature in his plans.

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