LONDON, United Kingdom, May 22 – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri plans showdown talks with the club’s hierarchy after next week’s Europa League final to see if they want the Italian to remain in charge next season.
Sarri’s side recovered from a mid-season slump in time to secure Champions League football next season via a third-placed finish in the Premier League, and could end the season with a trophy when they face Arsenal in Baku on May 29.
However, Sarri’s style of football has not been universally embraced by the Chelsea fans during his first season in charge and rumours in his homeland have linked the former Napoli boss with the vacant managerial roles at Juventus and Roma.
“I will speak to the club as I want to see if they are happy with me or not,” said Sarri on Wednesday. “I have two more years on my contract.”
The Milan stock exchange does not appear to share Chelsea fans’ reservations. Juventus shares rose 5.60 per cent on Wednesday afternoon following reports in the Italian press the Italian champions had been in contact with Sarri.
Juventus are looking for a manager after parting last week with Massimiliano Allegri, who won the Italian title in each of his five seasons in charge. Juventus shares, which dipped below 0.60 Euros last May before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived, reached 1.46 euros on Wednesday.
Sarri insisted any decision on his future should not be dependent on the outcome of the Europa League final.
“If the situation is like this then I want to go immediately,” he added. “Ten months of work and then I have to play everything in 90 minutes, that is not right. You are either happy about my work or not happy.”
– ‘Good to wonderful season’ –
Sarri, though, defended his record after guaranteeing the club’s principal target for the campaign of a return to the Champions League and reaching two Cup finals.
“I think that we had a good season, with a lot of problems of course,” he added.
“We finished third in the Premier League, final of League Cup, a very difficult competition, now we have the possibility to play the final of the Europa League.
“If we are able to win then it will become a wonderful season.”
Arsenal’s preparation for the final has been disrupted as midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has decided not to travel on safety grounds due to political tensions between his native Armenia and hosts Azerbaijan.
Supporters from both clubs also face huge logistical issues and expense in trying to attend the final in a city nearly 2,500 miles from London.
And Sarri joined Arsenal’s condemnation of selecting Baku as the host city for such a prestigious final.
“The location is a big problem for our fans. I think it was better to be in another location,” he said.
On Mkhitaryan’s decision not to travel, he added: “Really disappointed for the situation, I would like to see him on the pitch.
“In a decision like this you have to respect the decision of the man. Not of the player, of the man.”