Nigel Winterburn has expressed his belief that embattled Chelsea boss Antonio Conte could be sacked before the end of the season.

The Blues’ owners were reportedly becoming increasingly frustrated with the Italian last month after he publicly expressed his frustrations at their ultimate control over the purse strings.

The London giants had a disappointing January, during which they drew three consecutive league games 0-0; the first time that such a feat had happened in Chelsea’s history. And doubts over the future of Conte began to intensify after the club were hammered 3-0 by Bournemouth earlier this week.

Conte’s frustrations plain to see

Although Conte said after the game that he was happy with his team’s efforts, Arsenal legend Winterburn believes that the opposite is true.

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“I think there are frustrations within the transfers that they have made,” Winterburn told Sky Sports News. “There seems to be frustrations from him within his team as well.

“They can’t quite seem to keep that level of consistency they had last season, which has been highlighted even more by Manchester City’s dominance. The way that Chelsea tend to react with their managers suggests that there may be a change come the end of the season and possibly before.

“It would be a huge statement to change your manager before the end of the season but when you start to question the board and Roman Abramovich, you don’t tend to stay around too long.”

Battle to stay in top four

Chelsea are currently looking like a shadow of the team that they were last season. They are currently in fourth place in the Premier League standings and just two points above fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Judging by the current brand of football they are playing, one could be tempted not to back them to finish in the top four this season.