Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be set to return to international management with Italy, with negotiations likely to open in the coming days
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte could leave the club at the end of the season, as the Italian national team are keen to appoint him as the manager once again, as per reports from the Sun.
Conte served as the manager for the Azzurri between 2014 and 2016, leading them to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro 2016 in France, before taking over the reins at Chelsea in the same summer.
In his first season with the Blues, Conte masterminded a brilliant campaign, leading the West Londoners to the Premier League title. However, things haven’t been as easy going in his sophomore year at the Stamford Bridge.
The former Juventus manager has grown frustrated with the club’s transfer business this term and has been taking thinly-veiled digs at the Chelsea hierarchy for not being able to land his top targets, throughout the course of the season.
The performances too, have taken a hit and following a 3-0 loss to AFC Bournemouth during the midweek, Conte and Chelsea find themselves under serious pressure to finish in the UEFA Champions League spots come the end of the season.
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) February 3, 2018
Following the loss, Conte once again claimed that he is “exploiting this squad at the maximum level” and that his side will “have to struggle” to finish in the top four. This constant moaning over the lack of squad depth has seemingly not gone down too well at the club, especially given that over £200 million has been spent over new players.
And with his immediate future in London under a doubt, Italy could be set to offer him a way out. The 2006 FIFA World Cup winners are without a manager, having sacked Giampiero Ventura after Italy failed to qualify for the summer’s World Cup in Russia. And it is understood that the Italian FA is keen on bringing back Conte into the fold to pick up the pieces from the debacle.
The Italian FA vice-chairman, Alessandro Costacurta, confirmed that the Chelsea manager was on their list of possible candidates and he will be flying to London to hold talks in the coming days. As quoted by the Sun, Costacurta said, “Conte is in the line. I will fly to London in the next few days. We have to start interviews. We are not rushed for time, but we have to start moving and go talk with them as soon as possible.”
Interestingly, former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is also in the running for the job, along with former Manchester City boss and Premier League winner Roberto Mancini.
Conte had signed a new two-year contract with Chelsea only in July last year, but looking at how things stand currently, it seems that his days at the Bridge are numbered and a return to Italy could be very much on the cards in the summer.