Antonio Conte has been sacked by Chelsea as their manager.
Conte guided the Blues to the Premier League title just one year ago in what was his debut season at Stamford Bridge.
His second campaign proved far less harmonious, however, and although they lifted the FA Cup in the spring, they could only finish fifth in the Premier League.
Conte is now understood to have left his post with 12 months remaining on his contract, with Maurizio Sarri set to take over from his Italian compatriot at Chelsea.
The Italian even took training on Thursday morning before, with the players sent home for the afternoon, as confirmation came of his sacking.
He still had a year to run on a £9m-a-season deal, renegotiated last summer in the wake of the league championship triumph and will be due a hefty payoff.
Relations between Conte and Chelsea’s hierarchy had always been difficult but deteriorated markedly over a difficult second season with regular disagreements over transfer policy.
The Italian wanted a greater say over recruitment and would have sought a radical overhaul of the playing squad this summer following last term’s disappointing fifth-place finish.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced on Wednesday that “Sarri is close to being new Chelsea manager”.
“My lawyers are in talks with his lawyers to finalise everything,” he said.
Chelsea are yet to make a move in the summer transfer market, with uncertainty over their management team delaying their dealings.