Premier League • England

Sarri aiming to sign Chelsea ‘favourite’ for Lazio, with loan move planned

James Holland
Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea

Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri is keen to raid former club Chelsea for the signing of a player who wants out, according to reports.

Sarri became Chelsea boss in July 2018 following the sacking of fellow Italian Antonio Conte. He guided the Blues to Europa League glory as they eased past London rivals Arsenal in the final.

Chelsea also finished third in the Premier League during his first and only season in charge, picking up 72 points.

But the 62-year-old left shortly after the end of the campaign, amid fan uproar over his stubborn tactics and failure to use academy products.

Sarri spent the following term at Juventus, lifting the Serie A title, before moving to Lazio in June. They have won half of their league fixtures so far this season and sit in fifth place on 21 points.

Former Liverpool man Pepe Reina is their first-choice goalkeeper, but that may not last for long. Sport Witness, citing reports in the Italian press, state that Sarri is hoping to take Kepa Arrizabalaga to Lazio.

The Spain international is now firmly behind Edouard Mendy in Chelsea’s pecking order. Thomas Tuchel has mainly given Arrizabalaga game time in the Carabao Cup, against the likes of Aston Villa and Southampton.

The report claims that Arrizabalaga wants a ‘change of air’ so he can get back to his best. That won’t happen while he is warming the bench in the Premier League and the Champions League.

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The 27-year-old is Sarri’s ‘favourite’ to take the keeper role at Lazio. Sarri wants the club to secure a loan deal lasting until the end of the season.

However, the Italian outfit would need some help to get a transfer over the line. They cannot afford Arrizabalaga’s wages, worth £155,000 a week, and would therefore need Chelsea to contribute.

The rumour is intriguing when you consider the antics which occurred during the 2019 Carabao Cup final. Arrizabalaga went down with an apparent injury but didn’t want to be taken off, much to Sarri’s annoyance. The manager was left fuming as he repeatedly tried to bring Willy Caballero on in Arrizabalaga’s place.

That game was detrimental to both player and manager. Arrizabalaga has never been the same since, while Sarri’s Chelsea tenure seemed destined to end following the penalty shoot-out defeat to Man City.

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Chelsea winger wants transfer amid Germany links

Meanwhile, Sport Witness write that Chelsea ace Hakim Ziyech ‘definitely’ wants an exit from Stamford Bridge.

The Moroccan is fed up with being left on the sidelines. He reckons he can become an important player elsewhere.

German side Borussia Dortmund are keeping tabs on the situation. They could swoop in during January as they look to play Ziyech alongside Erling Haaland in attack. Ziyech’s pinpoint crosses could help the Norwegian to score even more goals.

The winger originally joined Chelsea for £33.3m in July last year. He has gone on to make 49 appearances in all competitions, scoring eight goals.

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