Despite winning the FA Cup this past weekend, speculation over Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea remains rife amid exit claims for the Italian tactician.
It’s been a difficult year for the former Juventus and Italy boss, as after delivering the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, he and his players struggled to repeat that level of success this time round.
Having missed out on a top-four finish, thus falling short in their bid to secure Champions League football next season, the FA Cup would have been a welcome consolation but not enough to mask the issues that they’ve faced this year.
Speaking prior to the season finale, the Italian himself was remaining coy over his future, as per The Independent, doing little to silence exit talk.
According to The Express, Conte is set to leave Chelsea imminently, with the suggestion made that he could be gone in the next 48 hours as former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has seemingly emerged as the favourite to replace him.
Importantly, the report also adds that it’s not just failures on the pitch which have added tension to Conte’s situation at Chelsea, but also reported discontent over the transfer strategy of the club last summer.
In turn, it remains to be seen if he stays beyond the summer, but should he move on, he will have undoubtedly been delighted to leave with a trophy being secured.
Should Enrique be the man to take over the reins after him though, that would arguably require a real transformation from Chelsea which could result in a tricky transitional period.
The preferred style of play differs significantly between the two coaches, from Conte’s pragmatism and emphasis on defensive organisation to Enrique’s more expansive and technical style as seen at Barcelona, it could be an intriguing change.
Firstly though, time will tell if the trip to Wembley was indeed Conte’s last game in charge of Chelsea as suggested in the report from the Express.