Former Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola believes that incoming boss Antonio Conte should be considered on the same level as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
Conte will replace Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge after the conclusion of Euro 2016 this summer, having enjoyed great success at club level with Juventus previously.
Although the adjustment and transition period to working in the Premier League will come with its own pressures and tests, many are confident that Conte will thrive in England as he looks to add to his three consecutive Serie A titles with the Bianconeri during his time in Turin.
Zola is confident that Conte will continue to enjoy great success, and evidently rates him very highly following the work he has done in his career thus far.
“He’s done so well in Italy that he has to be considered the same level as Guardiola and Mourinho,” Zola told the BBC. “He has not won as much internationally but he is a good coach with a strong personality. I’m sure he will bring a lot to Chelsea.”
While there is no doubting Conte’s ability as a coach, it is difficult to suggest that he should be considered on a par with the likes of Guardiola and Mourinho at this stage.
Much will depend on his success with the Azzurri this summer, as well as his impact in west London in what will be a tough first year in charge.
Nevertheless, having led Juve to an unbeaten season without the distraction of European competition in his first season, he will hope to repeat the trick next year albeit in very different circumstances.
Conte will likely be active in the summer transfer market, but without Champions League football, it could be difficult for him to attract top names while also facing a battle to keep his main players at the Bridge next season.
However, it would come as no surprise if he thrived off that pressure and got a reaction from his squad, and that should lead to a successful opening year of his tenure.