Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is a wanted man, just not in the criminal sense.
Despite leading the west Londoners to a thoroughly impressive Premier League title win last season, the Italian has seen his position at the club questioned. This follows an under-par defence of their title this season that has them stuck in fifth place with ten games remaining – 19 points behind league leaders Man City. Speculation he might be in his last season at the club is rife.
Italy are themselves not doing well at the moment. Former coach Gian Piero Ventura was sacked late last year following a disastrous qualification campaign that left the Azzurri out of the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
The general consensus is that is a lack of top quality talent in this generation of Italian players, and that calls for a special manager. One able to squeeze the most out of ‘meagre’ resources.
Conte would be “the best” of all the candidates
It is something Conte excelled at in his previous charge as coach of Italy. The 48-year-old has also done well with what he calls an “austerity programme” at Chelsea.
Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta had this to say earlier this week: “Of all the potential candidates, for me, Antonio Conte would be the best.
“I’m sure we will find a new man within a couple of months. But I have not made my final decision yet.”
No one knows how to deliver results against the odds better than Conte, something that gives him an edge over other candidates according to Costacurta.
He added: “Conte has already been in charge of the national team but that does not mean that I will ignore people like Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti or even the likes of Claudio Ranieri, Gian Piero Gasperini or Marco Giampaolo. They would all do well.”
Whether the fiery Chelsea boss would sacrifice the thrill of club football to go back and serve his country remains to be seen. He has nonetheless admitted to feelings of uncertainty in London, saying that his is a job where the “bag is always packed”.
Featured image: “Le Prime Convocazioni Di Conte Della Nazionale Italiana” (CC BY 2.0) by Nazionale Calci.