Speculations in the football world say Antonio Conte will most likely be elsewhere, far away from the Stamford Bridge next season, but the manager insists he has no secret plan to jump ship.
Image: Antonio Conte
This summer will make it almost 2 years since his arrival at Chelsea, following a three-year contract which The Blues celebrated with an English Premier League trophy, but it appears the Italian coach may not spend the next three or four month in London.
Conte, 48, is reportedly having issues with Chelsea directors, and football analysts think the best way out is his untimely exit.
The former Juventus coach has been touted as Italy’s next manager, ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but he says such overtures for an international job will be rejected.
Amid what has been a difficult period for Conte, particularly his fallout with the board on missed transfer targets and a bad 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, FIGC vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta openly admitted he will go to London talk to the Stamford Bridge boss. Yet, the manager says he’s going nowhere.
Speaking at a press conference on whether he has plans to speak with Costacurta, he said: “No. There’s no need for that. I must be honest. No.”
“All I can say is that Costacurta is a friend who played with me during our time as Italian national team players in 1994. But, I guess he is unaware that I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea. My intention, my will, my desire is to respect this contract and see it to a good end.
“From the start of this season there have been a lot of speculation and rumors around me and this is the height of it. What I can say is that I am not done…I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea and my will, my desire, is to stay here, continue my work and this is my will. This is my will. I don’t see problems about this.”
Conte, who was the Italian manager during their 2016 European Championships campaign, said he doesn’t understand why he is needed for the international duty. He was a national team player at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and also featured at UEFA Euro 2000. Italy finished as runners-up in both competitions.
Conte’s frustration is evident in his recurring unprovoked digs at lack of support in the transfer market and his mud-slinging with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.
Admittedly, sacking such a high profile manager would send shivers down any manager’s spine, but this is Chelsea, a club with a history of hiring and firing top-class coaches.
“[On reasons for his decision to stay at Chelsea] No, I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I repeat, my intention, my will, is to respect the contract,” said the midfielder who also played for Leece and Juventus.
“We signed a three-year contract and our desire is to continue respecting the agreement. But, from the start of the season, after our defeat against Burnley, there was a lot of speculation about me being sacked. Importantly, I’m neither interested in this gossips nor fazed by them.
“My goal at this moment is to work harder and give my best for Chelsea. Everyone knows how difficult it is for the team, but nothing is impossible. However, we must be prepared and ready to take the blows. We know very well our path this season.”