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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis might have relieved Maurizio Sarri of his duties but the Italian is still tied to his contract, and this has frustrated Chelsea’s pursuit of the 59-year-old.

Laurentiis is still said to be demanding €8million in compensation, despite Sarri’s release clause having expired earlier this week, but the Napoli owner has revealed that he is now willing to negotiate.

“If anyone comes to negotiate for him, I will be very reasonable,” he said.

“I am not a vindictive person and, I repeat, Sarri will always have my thanks.

“I have always been very polite to him, I have always supported him. But at a certain point, if you have a contract with me for another two years but you start expressing doubts – saying things like ‘I don’t know if I’m staying,’ ‘I don’t know whether the club will be able to keep their best players,’ ‘in life sometimes it’s best to end stories while they are good.

“Maurizio never answered me [about whether he was staying]. If you close the door in my face, I will politely stay away so as to not disturb your work, but only up to a certain point.

“After that I have the right and the duty to protect the interests of the club and start to look elsewhere.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.