Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is the latest to be linked with Chelsea, with Antonio Conte’s future cast into heavy doubts in recent times.

Antonio Conte has made his growing frustration at Chelsea let through the cracks in recent times. And according to the reports, the feeling seems to be mutual, with Chelsea also laying down succession plans to cover for the Italian’s potential departure. According to Daily Mail, Luis Enrique is the latest to emerge as a possible candidate to be the next manager at Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte landed the coveted Premier League trophy in his maiden season in charge at not just Chelsea, but the Premier League in general. But, the second season seems to be unraveling rather quickly for the club and the manager. Chelsea’s inability to back the manager in the transfer market in the summer transfer window had already started showing it’s effect from late November.

And while many had hoped of a better January transfer window, the situation does not seem to be far too different. The Italian’s frustration at not being handed his choice of targets has seen the manager cut a somewhat distant figure, with the on-pitch results also taking a hit.

Chelsea are already out of the League Cup, that too, to their fierce local rivals Arsenal, while facing a daunting task in the UEFA Champions League First Knockout Phase (Round of 16), where they are up against current La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Chelsea’s defence of the Premier League title has also not been going well, with Antonio Conte and his men 15 points behind leaders Manchester City. With the FA Cup their most likely shot at silverware this season, the campaign could really be cast as a failure if they fail to get past Barcelona.

Add to that the dissatisfaction of the manager at the club’s inability to land the targets, and the rumours of a split between the Board and Conte do seem justified. There have been many names emerging as potential candidates for the job, should Conte leave or be sacked.

Massimiliano Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri have been sounded out. But, Allegri and Sarri could be tough to poach, with both the managers seemingly satisfied at Juventus and Napoli respectively. Ancelotti could be an option but his Bayern Munich stint has put a blip on his resume.

Luis Enrique’s name, thus, could be a viable one. The former Barcelona manager ended his tenure at Nou Camp on a positive note, with the former player helping Barcelona to an astounding 9 trophies during his 3-year tenure at the club – a trophy haul that includes 2 league titles and a Champions League.

The former Barcelona man is currently on a sabbatical and could be relatively a more realistic and approachable target compared to Allegri and Sarri. Many could point to Luis Enrique’s ability to manage the egos of the squad and rotate players while also incorporating youth into the senior setup as qualities that the Chelsea board are looking towards.

Luis Enrique could also be encouraged to manage a Chelsea side that arguably, have all the tools for success. Another major point that could work in his favour is his ability to look for good deals in the market – Luis Suarez was the only big-money signing during his 3-year reign at Barcelona, with no other player coming in for a fee greater than €35 million.

It will be interesting to see how the story develops. But, Conte’s departure in the summer, if not before, does look imminent and Luis Enrique could well be the one we see arriving at Chelsea as the new manager.

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