Maurizio Sarri set to sign Chelsea deal as Antonio Conte threatens action

ESPN pundit Stewart Robson

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Conte took training when some of the Chelsea squad returned for pre-season this week but has always been expected to be replaced this summer.

Chelsea have finally relieved Antonio Conte of his duties as manager.

"During Antonio's time at the club, we won our sixth league title and eighth FA Cup".

'We wish Antonio every success in his future career'.

Several of the first team players at Chelsea have grown frustrated with the former Juventus coach's methods, and the club have taken the decision to move in a new direction.

Chelsea have an interest in Higuain and he is rated by Maurizio Sarri, who is set to take over at Stamford Bridge. The Italian is also unhappy with his overall treatment from the club and the delay in his departure - with only a month to go before the 2018/19 Premier League campaig begins. Originally played as a wide-forward, Mertens was integrated within a new attacking system that worked to his favour as the Belgian scored 28 goals in the following year as Napoli finished third in the league.

Maurizio Sarri is set to be announced as their new manager imminently, and the club are hoping that his arrival, along with an array of new signings, will help to persuade Eden Hazard to stay put.

His future has looked uncertain with Chelsea failing to qualify for the coming season's Champions League after finishing fifth.

Sarri, who split his time between banking and playing football before he took up coaching aged 40, has not won a major honour in three years at Napoli but has guided the club to finishes of second, third and second again. The Serie A side, who still have Sarri under contract, have been in discussions with Chelsea to agree on a compensation fee and it is believed that everything has now been concluded.

That is not Chelsea's usual protocol and it is also believed lawyers are still haggling over how much to pay the former Juventus and Italy manager.

The sacking brings to an end a fractious two-year relationship between Chelsea and Conte.

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