Bridge: Sarri likely to remain at Chelsea as off-pitch circus causes headaches

Yahoo Sport UK
Wayne Bridge was speaking about Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri
Wayne Bridge was speaking about Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri

Former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge believes Maurizio Sarri will remain at the club despite speculation surrounding his future.

Earlier this week, Sarri was forced to comment on his future ahead of a Europa League final against Arsenal with speculation mounting that the Italian could be on the move.

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The former Napoli manager insisted his Chelsea prospects should not be determined by the outcome of that match, adding he would rather be sacked immediately if that was the case.

Indeed, despite a turbulent season, Sarri has led Chelsea to a third-placed finish as well as a European final.

And Bridge, 38, believes the large question marks hanging over Stamford Bridge may see Sarri stay at the club.

He told Yahoo Sport UK: “Yeah, it (third and a trophy) isn’t bad. But Chelsea fans, they have been and won Premier Leagues and Champions Leagues. So they expect their team to be up there.

“They’ve been so inconsistent, really inconsistent. There have been players who have underperformed, I think there’s probably players there that he doesn’t want there and he wants to bring other players in.

“With the transfer ban, what’s going to happen? Chelsea are in a situation. If that transfer ban kicks in what are they gonna do?

“Do they get rid of the manager, bring a new manager in? I think there are so many unanswered questions I think people would ask. We’re just waiting to see what happens.”

While the fans at the west London club have seemingly turned against the Italian manager, there are a number of issues for the Chelsea hierarchy to work through.

Wayne Bridge and Francis Benali at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)
Wayne Bridge and Francis Benali at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)

They have been slapped with a two-window transfer ban by FIFA after being found guilty of 29 breaches regarding the transfer of minors.

Appeals have been rejected so far and, although the news would be a huge blow for Blues fans, it could buy Sarri a stay of execution.

But Bridge reckons it would not be a great consolation for Sarri.

“It’s difficult, he hasn’t signed a lot of the players who are there. Does it help? I don’t know.

“If they never had the transfer ban are they going to say we believe in you, go and buy the players you want. But sack him six months later if it doesn’t work?

“It’s such a hard decision. I think If there’s a transfer ban, it going to be hard to get another manager to come in under a transfer ban. I think he’ll end up being there and hopefully he can get them into the Champions League again.”

To pile on to those woes, star forward Eden Hazard looks destined for the exit door, which will be huge loss for the Blues.

USA international Christian Pulisic was signed for £58million from Borussia Dortmund in January, before being loaned back for the remainder of the season.

And although he could eventually prove to be Hazard’s replacement, Bridge is wary of the shorter-term complications of Chelsea losing their best player.

“Is he another Hazard? I don’t really know,” the former Southampton and Fulham man added. “If Chelsea didn’t have Hazard this year they would’ve struggled massively.

“Even if he’s up to his standard, he’s coming into a new team, which isn’t always easy to settle in to. Hazard’s been there a while now, he’s nice and settled.

“It isn’t always as straightforward as just turn up and play. Don’t get me wrong, you can, and you’re expected to, but it can take a player a while to settle in sometimes.”

Wayne Bridge was appearing at the latest Virgin Media #SuperSaints event which saw fans play at St Mary’s Stadium. For more information on the campaign, visit https://www.virginmedia.com/virgin-tv-edit/super-saints

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