Following initial reports earlier this week that Italian coach Antonio Conte could arrive at Chelsea this summer, the Guardian is reporting that the head coach of the Italian national team will hold further talks with the Blues on Thursday.
ProSoccerTalk contacted Chelsea regarding the speculation but the west London club declined to comment.
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Conte, 46, has a contract with the Italian FA through the end of the 2016 European Championships in France this summer but it believed the former Juventus boss is keen to return to club management.
The latest report goes on to claim that Chelsea will pay Conte $8.7 million per season as the man who led Juve to three-straight Serie A titles from 2011-14 will end his time in charge of the Azzurri after EURO 2016.
It is believed the Blues are eager to tie up the deal with Conte as soon as possible as a lack of top class managers available this summer means that they could struggle to find a better solution. Current Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has publicly ruled out leaving the Turin club for Chelsea, so Conte seems like the best fit right now.
Interim boss Guus Hiddink has said time and time again that he does’t plan to stay at Stamford Bridge past the end of this season, even though the 69-year-old has suffered just one defeat (2-1 at Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League) in 13 games since replacing Jose Mourinho in December.
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There’s no doubting that this appointment is a crucial one for the Blues, with long-term stability at the club needed if they’re going to continue to challenge for the Premier League title and the UEFA Champions League. Also, a further caveat in appointing Conte would also be that Chelsea is likely to be in the drivers seat to snap up one of the best players on the planet: Paul Pogba.
“Il Polpo” rose to stardom under Conte at Juve and Pogba, 22, could well leave The Old Lady this summer with all of the big boys in the Premier League said to be courting him. The central midfielder could be the star of the show at Chelsea and the entire team would be built around him.
Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. However, the odds have been slashed on Conte arriving this summer as the relative success and undoubted popularity of Italian managers Claudio Ranieri, Gianluca Vialli, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo in the past could seen Chelsea head back to Italy for a fifth time in club history.