It’s the worst kept secret in football – Antonio Conte is set to get the boot from Chelsea this summer.
The writing has been on the wall for months for the Italian following a disappointing defense of the club’s Premier League title.
Ruthless owner Roman Abramovich does not stand for results like the ones which have plagued Conte’s second campaign at the Stamford Bridge helm.
Chelsea are facing an uphill task to qualify for the Champions League by making the top four to leave the 48-year-old on the brink of the sack.
“Honestly. I think that I’m giving – the players are giving – everything this season,” Conte said earlier this month.
“We are working very hard to try to have a good season, but I think that, in the end, we are deserving this season. It means that our value is this.
“You have to ask the club, not me. I repeat: my task is to work, to work and I know I work 24 hours for Chelsea. Me and my staff. This is our task. Then the club has to take the decision. But, I repeat, I’m not worried about this.”
It’s perhaps even surprising that Abramovich hasn’t pulled the trigger sooner and there appears to be a good reason for his reluctance to fire the Blues boss.
Conte would be due £10million in compensation if he is shown the door, according to a report in the Daily Mirror, and his advisors have already held discussions with Paris Saint-Germain about a move to France.
However, German coach Thomas Tuchel is expected to land that job and Chelsea’s board are hopeful Conte can find an alternative once the season draws to a close.
Should Conte walk into another position, the Stamford Bridge club will save themselves a fortune by avoid a huge pay-out to their manager.
Conte has made no secret of his desire to return home to Italy to resume control of the national team, a job which is expected to be filled at the end of next month.
Should no offer from the Azzurri materialise, the former Juventus coach could also move across London to Arsenal or perhaps find himself in the running for the Real Madrid job.
Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri is among the favourites to replace Conte at Chelsea, opening up another vacancy in Serie A for next season.