Chelsea player liaison officer Gary Staker was spotted at Italy’s international friendly with Spain in Udine on Thursday night, with suggestions it could be related to Antonio Conte.
Alessandro Alciato of Sky Sport Italia shared the image on Twitter, which in turn naturally sparked a reaction regarding Conte’s future and a potential move to Chelsea.
— Alessandro Alciato (@AAlciato) March 24, 2016
The current Azzurri boss dampened suggestions that he was ready to move to Stamford Bridge earlier this week, as he claimed that he was still undecided, as noted by ESPN FC.
However, the general consensus is that he will ultimately move to England for his next job, with FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio confirming earlier this month that Conte wouldn’t be renewing his contract when it expires after Euro 2016 this summer, as reported by Football Italia.
Conte will be under pressure to remain focused on the task in hand as he leads the Azzurri in France, and any dip or struggle in the group stages will certainly reflect badly on him as talk of his future is an obvious reason to make him the scapegoat.
Nevertheless, the presence of Staker on Thursday night will only add to speculation that a move to Chelsea is in the offing, with the reigning Premier League champions looking to appoint a long-term successor to Jose Mourinho in the summer.
Although Guus Hiddink has done a commendable job since arriving in December, the club are expected to look elsewhere at the end of the season, and Conte has certainly emerged on their radar with on-going rumours insisting that a deal has already been reached, as claimed by The Express last month.
However, there has yet to be an official announcement on the situation as Conte continues to leave the media guessing with less than three months to go before Italy’s Euro 2016 opener against Belgium, with many commenting on Staker’s presence.
— Michael Gatt (@MikielGatt) March 24, 2016
Chelsea’s Gary Staker at Italy vs Spain tonight. May well be checking on a manager as well as Fabregas/Azpilicueta.. https://t.co/fbazCfBkZa
— Oliver Todd (@oliver_todd) March 24, 2016