Eden Hazard identifies dream Antonio Conte replacement after talks with teammate

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Eden Hazard of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on April 19, 2018 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

Eden Hazard is pushing for Chelsea to replace Antonio Conte with Maurizio Sarri, according to reports in Italy. Conte is currently still in charge of the Blues but is expected to be removed from the Stamford Bridge hot-seat in the coming days.

The former Italy boss cut a frustrated figure for much of the 2017-18 season as his team, attempting to defend the Premier League title, finished fifth.

Following Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Manchester United, Conte issued an ultimatum to the board and said that he was unwilling to change his approach. Sarri, who left Napoli earlier in the month, is the favourite to replace Conte and is said to be in talks over signing a two-year deal with the west London club. The 59-year-old impressed in his three-year stint in Naples and already has some admirers in the Chelsea dressing room, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

It is claimed Hazard, one of Chelsea’s most important and influential players, is pushing for Sarri’s arrival at Stamford Bridge after being encouraged by praise from his Belgium teammate Dries Mertens. While Sarri is expected to be named Chelsea’s next manager, reports suggest the Italian will not bring his coaching staff from Napoli to west London.

On Friday, it was reported that Sarri would ask Chelsea to sign a number of Napoli players if he did take over from Conte. Elseid Hysaj, Raul Albiol, Piotr Zielinski and Kalidou Koulibaly were all raised as potential targets for Sarri.

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