Sarri to offer Chelsea misfit welcome reprieve despite infamous incident

Steve Pearson
Maurizio Sarri former Chelsea manager

New Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri is seeking to end a Chelsea misfit’s nightmare despite a high profile disagreement between the two men in the past.

Former Chelsea manager Sarri was a major part of the recent managerial shake-up in Serie A. Italian giants Juventus, Roma, Inter, Napoli and Lazio all changed their manager in recent weeks. Simone Inzaghi left Lazio for Inter, paving the way for Sarri to take charge at Lazio.

Sarri has enjoyed mixed fortunes since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2019. He lifted the Scudetto with Juventus but was relieved of his duties after just one season.

His stint at Chelsea played out in similar fashion, though a famous incident between he and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga cast a shadow over his spell.

During the 2019 EFL Cup final, Kepa refused to be substituted for penalty saving specialist Willy Caballero despite suffering with cramp.

Sarri was visibly angered and frustrated on the sideline, with many pundits including John Terry claiming his authority had been diminished.

However, that black mark has not seemingly deterred Sarri from working with Kepa once more.

Per the Sun (citing Italian outlet Repubblica) Sarri is open to a reunion in Rome.

Lazio are said to be ‘pursuing a loan deal for the Spanish goalkeeper‘. Such a deal would see Lazio pay 50 percent of Kepa’s £150,000-per-week wages.

Kepa has fallen behind Edouard Mendy in the pecking order despite arriving for the world record fee for a goalkeeper of £71m in 2018.
Chelsea are understood to be ‘keen’ to rid their books of at least some portion of Kepa’s salary. Additionally, Lazio are reportedly seeking a longer-term solution.

Putting two and two together, that would seem to suggest a permanent move for Kepa could be made if a loan stint was successful.

READ MORE: Lampard reveals future managerial hopes and reflects on Chelsea tenure