Antonio Conte leaves Inter Milan 'by mutual consent' three weeks after winning Serie A title

Italian's relationship with club owners had become strained over planned cost cutting

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Antonio Conte has left Inter Milan "by mutual consent" just three weeks after leading the club to their first Serie A title in 11 years, it was announced on Wednesday.

"FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Antonio Conte for the termination of his contract by mutual consent," the club said in a statement.

The former Chelsea, Juventus, and Italy manager was appointed at Inter in May 2019 on a three-year contract. The San Siro club have enjoyed a huge upturn in fortunes since Conte's arrival, with last season's runner-up finish in Serie A followed by an emphatic march to this year's scudetto.

Inter also finished runners-up in last season's Europa League.

"The club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work that he has done, culminating in Inter's 19th top-flight title. Antonio Conte will forever remain a part of our club's history."

Despite the on-field success, Conte's relationship with the club's owners Suning has become strained over planned cost cutting, which would prevent him building the team he wants to challenge at home and in Europe.

Inter registered losses of €100 million ($122m) last season mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Suning Group shut down their Chinese club Jiangsu FC in February months after it won the Chinese Super League title.

Last week, Inter secured a cash injection worth €275m with US investment firm Oaktree, in the form of a loan reported to be over three years.

Inter's precarious finances not only potentially limit the club's ability to strengthen in the transfer market, but could make pose a challenge to their hopes of retaining their most valuable players. Strike pair Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez are among the star players reported to be attracting interest from major European clubs.

Conte's departure had also been heralded last summer after the club's Europa League final defeat to Sevilla and second-place finish in the league behind Juventus.

He had blamed the club's lack of investment on their failure to challenge this season in the Champions League, in which they have crashed out in the group stage in each of the last three seasons.

Conte's departure follows a similar pattern from the Italian, who also fell out with the bosses at Juventus and Chelsea prior to leaving.

There is likely to be no shortage of interest in Conte's services this summer, with Zinedine Zidane expected to leave Real Madrid, Ronald Koeman likely to be shown the exit at Barcelona, and a vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur.

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