Chelsea have finally announced they have “parted company” with manager Antonio Conte.
There had been widespread speculation since the end of last season that Conte would not be at Stamford Bridge by the start of the 2018/19 campaign.
Former Napoli boss Sarri is expected to take his place, with midfielder Jorginho set to be the first signing of his era in West London.
A short statement read: “During Antonio’s time at the club, we won our sixth league title and eighth FA Cup. In the title winning season, the club set a then-record 30 wins in a 38-game Premier League season, as well as a club-record 13 consecutive league victories.
“We wish Antonio every success in his future career.”
Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company. https://t.co/JOpsPD4dmN
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 13, 2018
Former Juventus and Italy boss Conte signed a three-year contract before becoming Chelsea head coach in July 2016.
His deal was improved, but not extended, in July 2017 after the Premier League win, hinting at differences with the Blues hierarchy.
Speculation had shrouded his position last season, as Conte did little to hide his dissent over Chelsea’s transfer business in the summer of 2017 and winter of 2017-18, making thinly-veiled criticisms of “the club”.
And the differences proved to be irreconcilable as Conte’s departure after just two seasons was confirmed 10 days before the club’s first pre-season friendly of the 2018-19 campaign.
Conte was Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor as boss and masterminded a revival from 10th place in 2015-16 to first in his maiden season in English football.
Chelsea beat Mourinho’s Manchester United at Wembley in May this year for Conte’s second trophy of the spell, after which the Italian said he was a “serial winner” who “can’t change”, citing his contract as he answered speculation it would be his final match in charge.
A fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification and ending up 30 points behind winners Manchester City, did little to strengthen Conte’s argument to stay on.
And Chelsea are now looking for a 13th permanent boss of Roman Abramovich’s ownership, which began in June 2003.