Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has enjoyed an excellent start to life at Stamford Bridge following his arrival in west London during the summer, but his former employer at Napoli has moved to criticise the Italian’s motives, insisting that Sarri is only driven by money.
It is a surprising claim from Aurelio De Laurentiis, the Napoli president, after Sarri had enjoyed a successful three-year spell in Naples, during which the 59-year-old guided the Partenopei to a strong title challenge last season in which they just missed out to Juventus.
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Sarri departed his role with the Serie A side for a new challenge as Antonio Conte’s replacement at Chelsea ahead of this season, but in a stunning claim, De Laurentiis blasted: “Sarri? I thought I had met a coach who would stay at Napoli for a long time,” the Napoli chief told Corriere dello Sport.
“At a certain point it became a question linked exclusively to money. Suddenly, it was established by the media that his contract must be adjusted.
“So what is the value of an agreement just signed? We had already gone from 700 thousand euros to a million and a half.
“It’s too early to talk about when to change if I’m going to change. But it is clear that it is not a good situation for me.”
Andreas Christensen has warned he may choose to leave Chelsea if Maurizio Sarri does not offer him more game time.
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“I also once heard him say that for his next contract, he wanted to get rich.
“Sarri’s declarations of love for the city? I believed it, but then I wondered: ‘What if he was using me as a bank?’”
So far with his new club, Sarri has guided Chelsea to second in the Premier League table as things stand, with the Blues level on points with Manchester City at the summit, after winning six and drawing two of their first eight league matches this season.
Sarri’s arrival has had the desired effect at Stamford Bridge so far, but whilst De Laurentiis was highly critical of his former coach, he has been keen to praise the Chelsea manager’s compatriot and replacement at the Stadio San Paolo, Carlo Ancelotti.
“Ancelotti was a date written in the football universe as if fate had decided it,” De Laurentiis continued.
“It took five minutes to get an agreement. The quickest negotiation of my fifteen years of football.”
Ancelotti has led Napoli to second in the Serie A table at present, with last season’s runners-up once again appearing to be the closest challengers to Juventus’ domestic crown.
De Laurentiis, though, has appeared confident that his side can go closer to the champions this time out, as the Napoli president added: “There will be a moment when even Juventus can break.”