With Napoli finishing second and set for the Champions League next season, one of the first orders of business for the club will be to tie up their manager, Maurizio Sarri, to a new contract. To that end, the two parties are expected to start serious talks this week, with Sarri and his agent meeting with club representatives to work on the deal that they've been slowly negotiating over the past two months.
It's expected that Sarri wants a three-year contract with roughly €2 million per season, and without the vague non-guarantee of one-year options like he has now. That contract would more than double the wages he earns now -- Sarri was paid just €750,000 last season -- and with performance bonuses Sarri could earn even more.
It's hard to deny that Sarri has earned an improved deal, not after an excellent season that saw Napoli finish second in Serie A, just one year removed from a disappointing fifth place finish under Rafa Benitez. Benitez then moved on to Real Madrid, got fired halfway through the season, then joined Newcastle and got them relegated. His replacement in Naples was an unknown, a manager with just one year of top-flight experience who looked like he might be primed for a crash and burn.
Sarri, of course, instead took a team with nearly zero depth, set a record for Europa League group stage performance, won the Winter Championship in Serie A, and ultimately finished second. His performance wasn't without its lumps, make no mistake, but it was a far cry better than what Benitez did in Naples, and even with the raise he wants, he costs the club far, far less.
It's believed that the negotiations will also include agreements as to certain minimum thresholds as far as transfer budgets go, with Sarri wanting a €40 million base budget and the ability to spend most if not all of any transfer fees earned through player sales. As long as Napoli stay in the Champions League, that's a perfectly reasonable sum, so there shouldn't be any major qualms in that area of negotiation.
The one interesting flag that pops up in reading the reports and rumors is that three-year deal Sarri wants. That would tie him to the club for one fewer year than he could be now -- Aurelio De Laurentiis put four one-year options on his manager's deal, so it will be interesting to see if Napoli insist on either adding an option for a fourth season, or making Sarri's contract a four-year one. We already know that Sarri doesn't seem to be a fan of the lack of a guarantee and security of the current option structure, so he will almost certainly stay firm on having all seasons of his deal
Either way, it will be good to have Sarri tied down long term. That can only help the stability of the club as they approach a critical season, and we all know how vital stability is in Italian football.