Despite guiding Chelsea to Europa League title success and a third-place Premier League finish, Maurizio Sarri has traded The Blues for Juventus. The Italian manager has left Chelsea and signed a three-year deal to become manager of Juventus; both clubs confirmed the signing of the contract on Sunday the 16fh of June. Chelsea announced on Thursday that they had agreed a compensation fee of over £5 million for the Italian who told he wanted to return to Italy to be closer to his family.
Sarri’s reign at Chelsea has not been without it’s criticisms and the Italian manager’s tactical choices – often called “Sarri-ball” – have been under fire more than he would have wanted. Sarri has always claimed the criticism of his Sarri-ball system is a “false problem” as he vowed to stand by his tactics while his job was often hanging by a thread.
Former Liverpool-player, currently working as an analyst, Danny Murphy has been an outspoken critic of the system claiming he never understood the whole Sarri-ball thing and it has always bemused [him]. Murphy went on to say that Sarri-ball is like trying to put square pegs in round holes and claims Sarri is refusing to accept his mistakes and change his tactics.
Now with Sarri returning to Italy, the question is if his Sarri-ball tactical play is coming back to the Italian peninsula too. But first, what is Sarri-ball exactly?
The concept of ‘Sarri-ball’ – or also called ‘Sarrismo’ – is essentially a fast-paced, possession-based style of attacking football often likened to a vertical tiki-taka. Comparable to the style of football Pep Guardiola introduced during his reign at Barcelona, Sarri-ball incorporates short and quick passes with the objective to move the play as far up the pitch as fast as possible. Sarri has received a lot of criticism for his style of play but has also been hailed being a tactical genius bringing attractive football to Napoli, with short quick passing and rapid counter attacks.
Now that Sarri is coming to Juventus next season, is Sarri-ball coming with him? All signs show that the Italian has not given up on his approach and is stubborn to continue playing the style he has become famous with. For one, Sarri has demanded that Juventus bring the Chelsea duo Gonzalo Higuain, who Sarri previously worked with at Napoli, as well as full-back Emerson Palmieri to Turin. The Italian manager clearly is planning on continuing playing similar football as he did with Napoli and later on with Chelsea.
Sarri-ball is coming back to Italy; everything is pointing in that direction. And according to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, Ronaldo is excited by the prospect of Sarri-ball coming to Turin and is hoping he can benefit from the change in approach. Winning the championship with Juventus will be the minimum for Sarri. The 60-year old will also need to perform well in the Champions League, possibly winning the ‘trophy with the big ears’. Only if he achieves in doing this, his passage in Turin will be seen as a success.