Chelsea close in on Sarri as Zenit turn to Semak to replace Mancini

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The Russian side had been linked with the former Napoli boss but they have appointed Sergei Semak instead, with a two-year contract now signed

Sergei Semak has been named as the new head coach of Zenit on a two-year deal, intensifying reports that Maurizio Sarri is set to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

Zenit had offered the managerial position to Sarri, who is poised to leave Napoli following their announcement that Carlo Ancelotti will take over as coach for 2018-19.

Goal understands that Chelsea are close to agreeing a £5 million-per-year contract with Sarri, with the Blues agreeing to pay the £8m release clause in Sarri's contract with Napoli.

Zenit confirmed that former Russia international Semak had signed a contract with the club on Tuesday, a deal that includes the option of a further year.

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Semak will succeed Roberto Mancini, who left to take over as Italy head coach this month.

The 42-year-old, who finished his playing career with Zenit in 2013 after winning two league titles with the club, had been head coach of Ufa since December 2016.

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