Roman Abramovich is in search of the 11th manager for Chelsea since he took over at the club in 2003. Rafa Benitez, Chelsea’s interim manager for this season, is unlikely to get an extension. It was no secret that Abramovich wanted Pep Guardiola to take over at Stamford Bridge next season, but the former Barcelona manager’s decision to join German giants Bayern Munich has left them in an inconvenient position.
So the biggest question now remains – who will take up the hot seat at Stamford Bridge next season. While some romantics are vouching for a return of Jose Mourinho, more realistic options like Manuel Pellegrini and Antonio Conte have been linked with the job.
Juventus manager Conte is believed to be a prime contender in Chelsea’s shortlist for managers next season. In fact Gianluca Vialli, a former player and manager of Chelsea, believes that Conte is ‘probably at the top of Chelsea’s wanted list‘.
Conte started his managerial career at a relatively young age and signed up for Juventus in 2011 after having stints at clubs like Siena, Atlanta and Bari. The former Juventus midfielder won over the fans and critics after he led the Bianconeri to their 28th Scudetto and perhaps even more significantly, his team managed to remain unbeaten in the league last season. The 43-year-old has been praised for his tactical nous and he has even been compared with Jose Mourinho in that aspect.
When Conte was asked about rumours of Chelsea shortlisting him for their managerial post next season, the Italian expressed his pleasure at being linked with such an ‘important’ club. He revealed his desire to manage abroad sometime in future although he assured that at the moment he only concerned about re-establishing Juventus as European powerhouse.
“I’ve always said that my ambition is to coach abroad one day and I’m pleased to receive marks of esteem from important clubs, it means that we are working well.
“They make Juventus happy too, because it means that they chose well one-and-a-half years ago.
“At the moment I am just thinking about Juventus, to re-establish ourselves in Italy and to do well in Europe.” – Conte was quoted in press.
If the man, who won the Trofeo Maestrelli last year, does arrive at Chelsea next season he will add a lot of spark to the Premier League. But it would be interesting to see whether he would leave Juventus – which he still believes is a work in progress, at least in European front.