The former Lecce and Juventus attacking midfielder is the latest name to enter the fray as the Italian press believe that the Chelsea hierarchy are impressed with the performances of Conte’s side in the UEFA Champions League and say that he’s now one of the favourites for the job after Roman Abramovich’s number one target Pep Guardiola opted for Bayern Munich.
Conte’s side won the Serie A title last season without losing a match and they lead the way again this season but are only three points ahead of Napoli. The Old Lady have fared well in Europe and would be the favourites when they meet Celtic in the second round of the competition.
The 43-year-old was once banned for ten months by the Italian Football Federation allegedly failing to report match-fixing while manager of Siena in 2010-11 but it was reduced to four months on appeal, but I don’t believe his baggage will put off potential employers in the long run.
But does he have enough on his CV to impress Abramovich enough to offer him the helm at Stamford Bridge and where does he rank against the other candidates for the job?
Many fans cannot see past Jose Mourinho at the moment and for good reason as his future at Real Madrid is looking bleak and there has been a host of speculation about a potential return to Chelsea for a second spell. He’s the fans favourite as they fondly remember the back-to-back title wins and the sense of invincibility under his charge, but there are those that are a little more cautious on the matter and question whether or not it’s a good idea in the long term.
In fact, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a call on who will be the next permanent manager at the West London club as many of the names linked you couldn’t imagine being given the role at this stage of their careers – Michael Laudrup, Diego Simeone, Gianfranco Zola or Gus Poyet. Jurgen Klopp would be an attractive prospect for the club but he doesn’t look like he wants to leave Dortmund any time soon. Then there’s David Moyes, who has done brilliantly for Everton but no-one knows how he’ll cope with the pressures of a bigger club and I can’t see Abramovich giving him the chance. The experienced names are tied up at the moment and seem happy where they are – Guus Hiddink, Louis van Gaal and Fabio Capello.
So if a Jose return doesn’t materialise then Conte could become one of the more realistic options. What do you think of Conte, yay or nay?