Chelsea expect frustrated manager Antonio Conte to leave the club before the beginning of next season and already have a potential replacement in their sights, according to reports.
The Spanish arm of European publication Tutto Mercato Web sensationally allege that the Italian will quit the Blues in the summer, with the Chelsea board already lining up former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique as his replacement.
Tensions between the club’s hierarchy and Conte that stemmed from Chelsea’s transfer dealings last summer have threatened to boil over in recent weeks, with the 48-year-old earlier slamming the “austerity programme” he has been faced with at Stamford Bridge. The former Juventus coach has made no secret of his desire to bring in reinforcements for his threadbare squad in the January window; equally, his exasperations at a perceived lack of financial support from the club’s top brass have been clear in recent media appearances.
With star players Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Willian all linked with moves away over the next few months, speculation over Conte’s future has intensified, with many pundits sharing the belief that his days at the Bridge are numbered. Today’s reports go one step further, and suggest that the manager, who led Chelsea to the Premier League title just last season, has already made his mind up to leave the Blues – with French giants Paris St-Germain touted as a likely destination.
Tutto Mercato Web claim that Chelsea are keeping close tabs on former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, who left the Catalans giants in June to take a year-long sabbatical, with two La Liga titles to his name. It is believed the Spaniard is keen for a return to club management in time for the 2018-19 campaign, with West London now seeming the most likely destination for the highly decorated 47-year-old’s return to football.