Antonio Conte emerges as frontrunner for Chelsea job

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Football News

Italy coach Antonio Conte has emerged as the leading candidate to take over the Chelsea job on a permanent basis.

According to the Daily Mail, the Italian has already met with club representatives and a deal could be finalised prior to this summer's European Championships.

Conte has reportedly moved ahead of fellow candidates Mauricio Pochettino, Massimo Allegri and Eddie Howe, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich seemingly resigned to losing Pep Guardiola to Manchester City.


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Who is he?

First and foremost Conte was an imposing player. As part of the Juventus midfield alongside Didier Deschamps and latterly Zinedine Zidane, during the 1990s and early 2000s, Conte claimed every available domestic honour.

Five Serie A titles, the 1996 Champions League and 20 caps for Italy, built the 46-year-old an imposing reputation before he embarked on management.

In the dugout, Conte has again established his reputation with Juventus, leading the Old Lady to three successive Serie A titles, winning the Coach of the Year each season.

Following the 2014 World Cup - where despite beating England 2-1, the Azzurri were knocked out at the group stage - Italy came calling, with Conte choosing to implement his favoured 3-5-2 formation on the national team.

Despite not being able to rely on former talents of the calibre of Andrea Pirlo or Francesco Totti, Conte led Italy through an unbeaten Euro qualification campaign, topping a group which included Croatia.

Would he be given time?

There is no evidence to suggest that he would. In almost 13 years as owner, Abramovich has had nine different managers at Stamford Bridge, with both current interim boss Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho given two spells to provide success.

The Russian expects regular silverware and Conte would have to hit the ground running, regardless of the current imbalance in the Chelsea squad.

Captain John Terry is the last remaining member of Mourinho's first title winning squad, whilst senior players such as Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard have struggled to perform consistently all season.

Despite Abramovich's influence and the inevitable lack of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next season, managing Chelsea would still be an enticing prospect for Conte and when Abramovich hones his sights, he always seems to get his man.

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