The club game has been shoved to the edge of our consciousness during the World Cup, lingering there like an overflowing rubbish bin to which we know we must eventually take care of. But not just yet.
The usually voracious Premier League news cycle has been held in an odd kind of suspension throughout the World Cup, and nothing captures this better than the fact that Antonio Conte is still the Chelsea manager in spite of spending the last six months knowing he was going to be sacked pretty sharpish.
It had been expected that Chelsea would replace Conte with Napoli's Maurizio Sarri, and this became even more likely when Napoli went and replaced Sarri with Carlo Ancelotti. Yet the deal has been held up in a squabble about compensation owed to the Italian club, meaning that Conte has weirdly started the pre-season training schedule at Chelsea as he waits to be fired.
It seems that a resolution is close now, however, with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis today confirming that the two clubs are close to hammering out an agreement.
The Telegraph is reporting that Chelsea are going to pay £50 million to take Sarri and midfielder Jorginho to Stamford Bridge. This is bad news for Manchester City, who had supposedly arranged a deal for Jorginho, have been left with little other than an apology from De Laurentiis.
The Sarri deal is in the homestretch, it depends on him.
I’ve laid down my conditions. It’s all in the hands of lawyers. Jorginho? We said to ourselves, ‘If Jorginho has any requests, we’ll take them into account’.
For that, I’ll have to apologise to Manchester City. However, if the player would rather live in London than Manchester, I can understand that.
If Chelsea are paying him even more, I can understand that too. Jorginho and Sarri together again? Jorginho would go to Chelsea regardless of Sarri.
It had been claimed that Cesc Fabregas would leave Chelsea to go in the other direction, but these reports are apparently wide of the mark.