Chelsea ‘make contact with Antonio Conte replacement’ as they move away from Luis Enrique

Chelsea have made initial contact with Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as they search for Antonio Conte’s successor.

Conte is expected to leave his position as Chelsea manager at the end of the season after two years in charge.

He led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge but the Blues have struggled in the defence of their crown and are currently on course to miss out on a Champions League qualification spot as they sit 10 points behind Tottenham who are fourth.

Conte has also criticised the club’s transfer policy and Chelsea are now preparing to bring in a new boss to turn their fortunes around – with Sarri having emerged as a serious contender according to the Mirror.

Sarri’s Napoli are challenging Juventus at the top of Serie A and face their title rivals next weekend.

It is said that he will not make any decisions on his future until after that crucial match, but talks over a new deal have already stalled.

The report states that the 59-year-old is understood to have a £7million release clause, valid until May 31, in his contract.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has long been the favourite to succeed Conte at Stamford Bridge.

More Chelsea news

Petr Cech has revealed why chose to join Arsenal from Chelsea – and added it was the toughest decision of his career.

Cech, 35, chose to swap Stamford Bridge for the Emirates in 2015 after 11 years at Chelsea.

His time with the Blues was nothing short of trophy-laden – the Czech goalkeeper won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League crown with the club.

But Cech found himself playing back-up to Thibaut Courtois after the Belgian returned from his loan with Atletico Madrid – prompting the stopper to move across London.

“It was the hardest decision I have made,” said Cech. “I felt so good and in good form that it would be a waste to sit on the bench.”

“I considered [the fans] heavily but sometimes you need to make the right decisions,” he told BBC’s Premier League Show. “I had offers from different clubs and different leagues but I wanted to stay in the Premier League.”

Cech added that he signed for Arsenal because he believed the Gunners could win the title – and he still thinks they can.

“The main decision was the challenge of bringing back the title,” he added.

“We have never won the Champions League as Arsenal Football Club. That was another part. I won everything with Chelsea, why not try do the same with Arsenal.

“That was my motivation and it still is. Every day I go to work and do my best because I believe it is achievable.”

Cech recently explained the difference between the selection policies at Chelsea and Arsenal.

The goalkeeper said he ‘enjoyed’ playing for Chelsea – and how team selection was decided on a ‘game by game’ basis.

He said: “At Chelsea we never decided which competition you play, it was a game by game process.

“If you kept playing well then you were fit and you didn’t need rest then the manager had his choice to pick the goalkeeper for the competitions.

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