By Tim Stannard
Chelsea say Sarri and part ways with Conte
Well, Chelsea certainly took their own good time about it.
A solid nine months after a bleating and huffing Antonio Conte started making hints that he wanted to be sacked by Chelsea and enjoy the huge pay-off that entailed, the Italian has got his wish. Well, half of it anyway. There may well be an unpleasant, oversight committee style fight for Conte’s pay off, thought to be in the region of around $12 million.
The Italian’s dismissal was confirmed by Chelsea on Friday morning, just 15 months after Conte lead the Stamford Bridge outfit to the Premier League title. However, a subsequent campaign of crankiness and a failure to seal a Champions League place for the new season saw Conte being put out of his English misery.
Only four managers have won the Premier League in their first season in English football... 🏆— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 12, 2018
Antonio Conte 🇮🇹
Carlo Ancelotti 🇮🇹
Jose Mourinho 🇵🇹
Manuel Pellegrini 🇨🇱 pic.twitter.com/v9qNT6VolA
There is no secret about Conte’s replacement – former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, a complicated character with a history of not entirely pleasant behavior, quite unlike his football which can be quite expansive and breathtaking, perhaps for the first time in Chelsea’s recent history. Sarri will see a familiar face at least with Napoli midfielder Jorginho expected in London on Friday to undergo a medical.
Out by November is the Sports Burst prediction for Sarri at a notoriously trigger-happy club.
Barca show off new player as Nice empties roster
Elsewhere in the TRANSFER TRACKER world and Barcelona has dusted off the Camp Nou for a second day in the world with the unveiling of Clement Lenglet who joins from Sevilla in a move in the region of $35 million.
Over in Serie A and Inter has cleared the decks a little with striker, Eder, moving to the Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.
A Nice week for the bank account but a bad one on the pitch for the Ligue Un outfit with a week of departures continuing. Alassane Plea joins up with Borussia Mönchengladbach a day after Jean Michel Seri left for Fulham. However, the two deals are worth over $50 million to Nice.
The very fashionable Harry Maguire has reportedly attracted the attentions of Manchester United. However, a fee of over $50 million demanded by Leicester City, who have already lost Riyad Mahrez this year might well put Jose Mourinho off.
Belgium and England to face off in loser’s lament
What? The World Cup is still going? Really. That was so last week.
Anyway, both Belgium and England will be talking ahead of Saturday’s third-place play-off – a clash that will either be a glorious splurge of care-free attacking football as teammates from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham go against each other, without the pressure of having to win. Or a drab, depressed affair stuffed with players who want to go home and sob on a luxurious yacht somewhere for a month. Could go either way.
That leaves 48 hours before the World Cup final – a clash between a fresh French side packed with superstars and bursting to the seams to win the World Cup for the country, 20-years after the first victory and Croatia, a team that resembles Bruce Willis in the final scenes of Die Hard, having been through three extra-time session in a row on the path to the final.
The XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT is the place to be for the best build-up to both matches.
John Isner looks to return USA to men’s Wimbledon final
The ‘baby steps’ of Serena Williams in her return to tennis after a season out took a great leap forward on Thursday with the US legend setting up a fantastic ladies Wimbledon finale on Saturday with Angelique Kerber. The match-up is a repeat of the 2016 showdown which was won by Serena in a good omen for a repeat performance. And Meghan Markle will be in attendance!
There might well be an American in the gentlemen’s final too with John Isner in early action in London and facing South African player, Kevin Anderson, to try to become the first US player in a Wimbledon final in nine years. Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic will face off in the second semifinal.
WHAT IS SPORTS BURST?
The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. Sports Burst is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.