Aleksandr Golovin set to become 1st signing for new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri

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Incoming Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists he will rival Arsenal and Manchester United for Russia World Cup sensation, Aleksandr Golovin, if he becomes Chelsea’s new manager, according to reports.

The 59-year-old Italian is the leading contender to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea. He is still contracted to Napoli but is certain to leave after Carlo Ancelotti took charge of the club.

Italian coach Sarri reportedly agreed personal terms with Chelsea last month but the Premier League club are yet to agree compensation with Napoli or sack Conte.

Gianfranco Zola, the former Chelsea and Italy playmaker, has emerged as Sarri’s likely number two if he does indeed join the west London club, who finished fifth in the top-flight last season.

Sarri’s likely arrival at Stamford Bridge will spark the club into action in the transfer window – Chelsea are yet to make any signings this summer.

And the Evening Standard say Sarri will look to sign CSKA Moscow midfielder Golovin, who starred in Russia’s World Cup victory over Saudi Arabia last week.

The 22-year-old, who has impressed for CSKA since breaking into the first-team in 2014, made two assists and scored the final goal as Russia secured an emphatic 5-0 victory.

He was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal last summer, with Arsene Wenger a known admirer, and has also emerged as a target for Manchester United.

Scouts from Old Trafford kept tabs on Golovin throughout the 2017-18 campaign and Jose Mourinho hailed his performance in the World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to Russian broadcaster RT, he said: ‘The manager changed the team in relation to the match I watched in Austria. He played with a back four, which is normal against a team like Saudi.

‘I think Alan Dzagoev was playing quite well but when he came out, the fact that Golovin could go to a more central position, I think it helped the team.

‘The team became better. Golovin is a playmaker, he’s a player that gives the dynamic of the team.

‘Denis Cheryshev is a fast boy on the wing, more of a winger than Golovin, stretch the game more than Golovin, so I think the change worked perfectly.’

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