English Premiership

Chelsea, Conte agree 'deal in principle'

Antonio Conte (TEAMtalk)
Antonio Conte (TEAMtalk)

Cape Town - Italy coach Antonio Conte is set to become Chelsea’s next manager after both parties agreed a “deal in principle”, according to reports in the Italian media.

Conte’s deal with Italy expires at the end of Euro 2016 and it is believed that the former Juventus boss is eager to return to club management, a desire which he will make clear when he meets with the Italian football federation next month 

The 46-year-old is said to have been approached by Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia who is leading the recruitment process, although Blues owner Roman Abramovich will make the final decision on who will succeed Guus Hiddink. 

It has also been reported that Conte will hold talks with Chelsea in March prior to Italy’s international friendlies against Spain and Germany. 

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was considered to be one of the frontrunners for the job, but he is now expected to remain in Turin, with the reigning Serie A champions set to offer him a bumper new deal.

“The conditions for Allegri’s contract renewal are all there. The cycle has just started with him and I believe we can continue with him,” Juventus sporting director Giuseppe Marotta said.

“On top of that, finding a club better than Juventus isn’t easy. I think that he can still get great pleasure from this team, thus there is no Allegri problem.”

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has also been linked with the position. The former Argentina international is believed to have a €17m buyout clause, and has been reluctant to discuss the possibility of a move while the season is still ongoing.