Napoli’s Maurizio Sarri set to decide future ponders move away from Serie A

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri says he is pondering a move abroad with his future at the Serie A club still unclear.

The 59-year-old still has two years left to run on his current deal with the Azzurri, but after missing out on the title this season, speculation is mounting that he will leave. Sarri will now take a few days to ponder his future with his family, but says if he does leave, it will not be for another club in Serie A.

“The season has only just ended and the truth is, as [Lorenzo] Insigne says: ‘Not even I know what I will do,'” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia. “After the game at Florence, when we realised we wouldn’t win the league, we set ourselves the objective of securing a new points record.

“Now I’m hungry and want to go to eat and then I’ll speak with my family before anybody else, which I think is the right thing to do at this moment. The president needs an answer quickly and we’re at the end of the season and he needs to plan, so I understand that he needs an answer.

“But I’ll speak with my family [on Monday] and then we’ll decide together. I don’t think I could go to another Italian club straight away. My memory of Napoli would still be too strong.”

Napoli finished with 91 points — a new club record, even if it was four points too few for the title.

Sarri nevertheless feels like a winner and he bowed before the Napoli fans who chanted his name repeatedly during their 2-1 win over Crotone on Sunday, although he raised doubts about his chances of taking that next step next season.

“It depends what you mean by winning,” Sarri said. “If you mean seeing your name on the roll of honour, then no, we didn’t. If, on the other hand, you mean entering into people’s hearts, then we’ve done that and it’s satisfying.

“My only perplexity is that, in life everything comes to an end. This is the truth and sometimes it’s best to bring an end to things while they are still beautiful.

“It’s not as if I can just say we’ll carry on with this group because I don’t even know if this group will stick together. We know there are release clauses and it’s hard to replace the top players for such figures.

“If we lose [Dries] Mertens for €28 million-30 million, you can’t find another one like him for that price. If [Raul] Albiol goes for €7m-8m, you go and spend €70m for a defender who’s not as good as Albiol. That’s what worries you.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.