Chelsea have agreed a deal in principle to appoint Antonio Conte as manager

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Italy’s head coach Antonio Conte has agreed a deal in principle to become the next Chelsea manager, according to Gazetta dello Sport.

The Italian sports daily newspaper reports that the former Juventus boss has edged ahead of fellow candidates Diego Simeone and Massimiliano Allegri and is now heavy favourite for the Chelsea job.

Current caretaker manager Guus Hiddink has only lost once since taking over from Jose Mourinho in December and has received support from the Chelsea players to take the job permanently.

But the 69-year-old is unlikely to continue at Stamford Bridge after this season and it appears that Conte will take over from the Dutchman.

Conte was also linked with the Real Madrid job following the sacking of Rafa Benitez in January, but he insisted that he wouldn’t be leaving his post as national manager ahead of the European Championships in France this summer.

The report also stated that Conte was undergoing an intensive English language course in preparation for a job offer from the west London club.

And it won’t be long until the next Chelsea boss is officially confirmed, with Roman Abramovich reportedly putting a deadline of Mid-March to confirm who will be leading the Blues next campaign.

Conte’s managerial career has been almost as impressive as his playing career despite only being 46-years-old.

As a player he played for Juventus for 13 seasons, winning five Serie A titles and a Champions League.

Conte's managerial career

He has built his managerial reputation over the previous ten years in Italy, taking charge of Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena in Serie B.

He got his big break in management when he was appointed manager of Juventus in May 2011 and led the club to three consecutive league titles in his three seasons at the club.

The national team soon came knocking following the resignation of Cesare Prandelli and he signed a contract until the end of Euro 2016.

The Azzurri eased to qualification and have only lost one match under Conte, a friendly defeat to Portugal.

After managing the club he played at for 13 seasons and then managing the national team, it’s no wonder Conte is seeking a new challenge in a different country.

He has conquered Italy by managing smaller teams, gaining a reputation which led to the Old Lady appointing him. Winning the Euro’s in the summer would complete Conte’s work in Italy.

Number one target

It would be understandable for Conte to be ahead of both Simeone and Allegri is in the running.

Simeone is a hero at Atletico Madrid after leading them to the La Liga title in the 2013/14 season and would probably be reluctant to leave a place where he is worshipped. Also, Abramovich may be reluctant to employ Simeone given his similar managing style and attitude to former manager Mourinho.

Meanwhile, Allegri has only been at Juventus for one-and-a-half seasons having led the Juve to the title last campaign and it could be argued that he needs to remain at the club slightly longer to prove himself at the top level.

Chelsea fans: Would Antonio Conte be the ideal man to be the next Chelsea manager?

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