Chelsea squad confused over managerial situation ahead of new season

Conte's firing imminent as Sarri waits in the wings

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Sarri, an ex-banker, has been a favorite to succeed his compatriot after impressing as manager of Serie A side Napoli, which has replaced him with former Chelsea handler Carlo Ancelotti.

They finished way behind champions Manchester City and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

"I accepted Manchester City's offer 15 days ago, but I have to apologise to them".

He added: "Jorginho? Although we consider him to be a great player, for the sake of Ancelotti's style of football and knowing that the interest from Chinese clubs in (Napoli midfielder Marek) Hamsik was relative, we chose to assess the bids, which originally came from City".

Chelsea hoped that another club might attempt to buy Conte out of the final year of his Stamford Bridge contract as he was unwilling to resign, but Paris Saint-Germain's appointment of Thomas Tuchel and Real Madrid's choice of Julen Lopetegui eliminated the possibility.

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Jorginho has snubbed Manchester City.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced on Wednesday that "Sarri is close to being new Chelsea manager".

But Goal understands that Chelsea and Conte have now agreed a £9 million ($12m) severance package to remove him from first-team coaching duties.

"Jorginho and Sarri together again?"

Speculation over Conte's future at Stamford Bridge has raged throughout the summer, with Chelsea entering lengthy negotiations with Napoli to bring Maurizio Sarri to West London as his replacement.

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"Jorginho to Chelsea is not tied to Sarri". The 59-year-old led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finish in three seasons in charge.

Chelsea started their pre-season training this weekend and Conte's staff took charge at Cobham, even if the official club website left him out of their photographs.

He can operate in a variety of different midfield roles thanks to his work-rate, and accuracy of passing but is generally seen as a creator.

CSKA Moscow midfielder and Russia World Cup star Aleksandr Golovin looks very likely to become the club's first addition of the summer for a fee of around £27m ($35.7m), with Juventus's Daniele Rugani having also had talks over a move.

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