CHelsea have been warned they will not be getting Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri on the cheap.
Sarri has already agreed a deal to replace Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge – but the Italians want his £7m release clause paid in full.
Chelsea have been in talks to waive the clause, which expires on Thursday, not least because Napoli have already appointed Carlo Ancelotti to replace him.
But Sarri, 59, remains under contract with the club until 2020 and chairman Aurelio di Laurentiis is not in the mood to negotiate.
Di Laurentiis said: “I do not do discounts. I cannot do discounts. I have to defend our fans. I do not like this concept.”
It was thought Napoli would be willing to waive the clause if Chelsea agreed to sell them defender David Luiz in a cut-price deal.
But those talks have now stalled and if the deadline passes without agreement De Laurentiis could demand an even higher price for Sarri.
Roman Abramovich is already facing a costly divorce bill to get rid of Conte, who has a year left on his own contract.
And the Russian-born billionaire, who is still waiting for his UK visa to be renewed, does not want to be held to ransom over Sarri.Sources close to the Italian insist he has agreed a two-year deal with Chelsea worth £5.2m a year, with an option to extend for a further 12 months.
But he remains in limbo until the situation is resolved, with the Blues forced to put their plans in the transfer market on hold.
Sarri wants to bring defender Kalidou Koulibaly with him from Naples but Chelsea are yet to make a bid for the Senegal international.