After guiding Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, it seems strange to even discuss Antonio Conte’s future.
However, through a combination of reports suggesting that the Italian tactician is homesick along with claims of tension due to transfer market failings, as per The Express, it hasn’t been as smooth sailing as expected since the summer.
The reigning English champions sit in fourth place in the table, six points adrift of the leaders, while the defeat to Manchester City prior to the international break arguably raised further question marks over their ability to defend their crown this season.
Nevertheless, fears of a possible swoop from AC Milan for Conte seem to have dissipated after sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli ruled out a move for the former Juventus and Italy boss.
“We already have a manager and we are not thinking of Conte nor about other managers,” he said, as reported by the Evening Standard.
The link has gathered strength as a result of Milan’s indifferent start to the campaign under Vincenzo Montella. Having gone on a spending spree this past summer to sign 11 new players after Yonghong Li’s takeover of the club in April, results haven’t quite matched expectations.
Although they’ve won 10 of 13 competitive games this season, Milan have fallen short in big tests against Lazio, Sampdoria and Roma, thus piling the pressure on Montella to get things right when it really matters.
He faces another huge test in the Milan derby against Inter this weekend, and it will be interesting to see if another defeat alters Milan’s stance, as it will test the seemingly unwavering support that he’s receiving from Mirabelli and the club in general.
Whether Conte can be prised away from Chelsea is another matter. For all the talk of troubles in west London, he has never been one to back down from a challenge whether as a player or a coach, and provided both he and his family are now settled, he surely won’t want to walk away now as he continues to assemble his own squad.