Chelsea’s sacking of Antonio Conte is a mere formality now as Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas has paid a tribute to the outgoing Italian tactician on Twitter before the club officially announced his exit.
Conte has been on the verge of an exit since the closing stages of the 2017-18 season, but due to a multitude of reasons, the club has dallied in making it official.
Almost every top-class manager, available and unavailable, has been linked with Conte’s job but in the past month or so, Maurizio Sarri has become the hot favourite.
And after Napoli announced that former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti will be taking charge for the upcoming season, Sarri’s arrival in West London seemed imminent.
However, it’s been over a month since Ancelotti’s confirmation and still, there is no official line from Chelsea even though the club have started their pre-season preparations.
Conte’s been absent from all social media posts by the club, which has only fuelled rumours that he won’t be in charge by the time the Premier League season starts in August.
And Fabregas’ post seems to have put to bed any doubt about his departure:
Thank you Mister for another Premier League title and FA Cup. It wasn’t easy for me to convince you in the beginning but in the end I hope I did you proud! Good luck for the future. #CFC
— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) July 12, 2018
The Spanish midfielder’s found playing time hard to come by under the Italian but has admiringly fought for his place instead of pushing for a move elsewhere in the two seasons they spent together.
As mentioned by Fabregas, Conte won the Premier League and the FA Cup to make it two major trophies in as many years but due to repeated clashes with the club management, seems to be on his way out.
Sarri’s got a buyout clause at Napoli rumoured to be in the region of €8 million while Conte will get a hefty severance package as well so the ‘switch’ won’t come cheap for the West Londoners.
Blues fans are hoping that the sticky situation is sorted out without further delay as the club play Australian side Perth Glory on July 23 for their first pre-season friendly.
They have a Community Shield clash with Manchester City on August 5 on the horizon as well while their Premier League opener sees them visit Huddersfield Town on August 11.
Real Madrid ‘prepare’ £150m lowball offer for Eden Hazard — report
Real Madrid has just sold the man who dominated their left flank and most of the world’s defences to Juventus for £100m and now they are now seeking his heir.
Plans A and B for the next Cristiano Ronaldo are Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, not necessarily in that order.
Plan C would appear to be that old crusty nugget, Eden Hazard. The cost of Plan C? According to the Mail, Real are hoping to get it done at £150m. Did they miss a zero?
Real Madrid prepare £150m bid to take Eden Hazard from Chelsea
— Chelsea FC RSS Feeds (@CFCrss) July 12, 2018
While Hazard has been saying the same things he’s always said for the last six years of such rumours — he’s happy in London but would of course not not-consider the legendary white shirts — this could be last summer in which Real actually have a proper chance.
With Cristiano gone, Hazard in his prime, and entering the final two years of his contract … this is his prime time for the biggest move in football.
However, taking Eden from Chelsea shouldn’t be that easy. He’s not pushing for a move and Chelsea certainly aren’t looking to sell.
Despite the drama of the summer so far, the impending signing of Jorginho shows there’s plenty of ambition left at Stamford Bridge.
Also, £150m seems low for a player in the conversation for the next best thing after Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As José Mourinho once put it perfectly: “if Real Madrid wants him, […] it would be £100m for each leg”.
Adjust for transfer market inflation, and do not forget to add the rest of his body in the calculations: there, you will have our asking price.