Maurizio Sarri will raid Serie A when appointed as Chelsea manager, with his sights set on three high-profile targets from the Italian top flight.
According to Goal, the 59-year-old wants reunions with his former Napoli players Dries Mertens and £60m-rated Kalidou Koulibaly at Stamford Bridge, while he will also move for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain.
All three of the players have been coached by Sarri at some point in their careers, with Higuain starring for Napoli before making the switch north to Turin.
The report claims that he views all three players as ones who could improve the London club’s fortunes, after they finished 5th last season.
Mertens – who has a bargain £25m release clause in his contract – has scored 90 goals in his five-year spell in Naples, with more than half of those coming in the last two seasons, thanks to Sarri reinventing him as a centre-forward.
Higuain – rated at £60m – has been continually linked with a departure from Juventus this summer, with some reports suggesting he could be part of a swap deal with Chelsea that would see the Blues offload Alvaro Morata.
However, the club hierarchy at Stamford Bridge have concerns about offering long-term deals to players over 30, which could lead to disagreements over bids for Mertens and Higuain, 31 and 30 respectively.
Meanwhile, centre-back Koulibaly praised Sarri after Senegal’s World Cup win over Poland on Tuesday, calling him a “great coach” who will “change the way the team plays football.”
Italian tactician Sarri is also keen on Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj and midfielder Piotr Zielinski, the report continues.
Sarri is expected to replace Antonio Conte in the Chelsea dugout, despite his fellow Italian winning two trophies in his two seasons in London.