Chelsea have sacked Italian Antonio Conte as manager, media in Britain and Italy reported on Thursday.
Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis said on Wednesday that the Premier League side were close to securing a deal for former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri to replace Conte.
The Italian, who now appears to have left Stamford Bridge after two years in charge, led Chelsea to Premier League title glory in a successful first season at the helm.
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.
It is believed that the Blues agreed on a fee in the region of £9.5m to pay off Conte and his staff.
Maurizio Sarri will now be confirmed as Conte’s successor after Chelsea finally made a breakthrough with Napoli over his release.
The move from Napoli was held up after the Italian club appointed Carlo Ancelotti as their manager but refused to let Sarri out of his contract.
But progress has been made over the past 48 hours and Sarri has agreed a two-year contract with the option of a third if an agreement can be signed off with Napoli.
Gianfranco Zola could also return to Chelsea as part of the backroom or technical staff.