London calling? Chelsea-linked Antonio Conte reportedly to confirm Italy exit

Sky Sports, citing a Rai Sport report, say Antonio Conte – heavily linked in recent weeks to opening at Chelsea - will confirm he is leaving his Italy position after Euro 2016.

Former Juventus manager Antonio Conte shown applauding fans after leading the club to their third successive Serie A title in May 2014. Max Rossi / Reuters
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Citing a report from Italian television station Rai Sport, Sky Sports say Antonio Conte will soon confirm his leaving the Italy post after Euro 2016.

Conte, 46, has been closely linked to Chelsea in recent months, with the footballing world seizing on a headline in La Gazetta dello Sport in February that said there was an "agreement in principle" between the club and the Italian.

That actual report hedged its news, saying he was merely the “favourite” to be hired by Roman Abramovich, one of three names on a shortlist along with Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone and the Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

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Talks at the time were “not yet entirely” concluded, according to the Italian newspaper, but that Chelsea and Conte “would have discussed contractual issues” in a reported meeting.

Meanwhile in recent days it has appeared more and more clear that, if not for Chelsea, then Conte would be moving on from the Italy job at least for something else. Over the weekend Renzo Ulivieri, the chairman of the Italian Football Managers' Association, said "everything indicates Conte will go away", according to Rai Sport.

That report also noted Conte was expected soon to have a conversation with Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio. According to the latest development, Conte will use that opportunity to communicate his future plans.

Former Juventus manager Conte has led the Italian national team since leaving Juventus in 2014, after guiding the Turin club to three successive Serie A titles in his three seasons in charge from 2011-14.

He has also previously managed Siena, Atalanta, Bari and Arezzo in Italy.

When he arrived at Juve, they were still trying to reach their former status following harsh sanctions resulting from the Calciopoli scandal that saw them demoted to Serie C. With Chelsea, Premier League champions in 2014/15 but struggling to finish in the top 10 this term it is thought Conte would make an attractive option to restore the club's fortunes.

“He is what Juventus needed,” Marcello Lippi, whom coached Conte when the pair were together at Juventus in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has said. “He’s well-organised, tactically mature and he has a bit of rage.”

Chelsea’s fortunes this season have turned, especially in recent weeks, under interim manager Guus Hiddink, who replaced Jose Mourinho in December, but it is widely assumed both the club and Hiddink have no interest in extending the partnership beyond the end of the current campaign.

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