Antonio Conte sacked by Chelsea, say reports

Antonio Conte sacked by Chelsea, say reports

Antonio Conte’s time as Chelsea manager looks like it could be nearing an end following reports he has been sacked.

The 48-year-old Italian has a year remaining on his contract, but left the Blues on Thursday, according to Sky Italia. Chelsea refused to comment.

The rumoured departure comes 54 days after Chelsea lifted the 2017-18 FA Cup – and with the Italian having taken pre-season training earlier this week.

Conte, who is reportedly set to be replaced by former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, also led Chelsea to the 2016-17 Premier League title in his first season as boss.

Maurizio Sarri (pictured) is the favourite to succeed fellow Italian Antonio Conte as Chelsea boss (Scott Heavey/PA)
Maurizio Sarri (pictured) is the favourite to succeed fellow Italian Antonio Conte as Chelsea boss (Scott Heavey/PA)

Former Juventus and Italy boss Conte signed a three-year contract before becoming Chelsea head coach in July 2016.

His deal was improved, but not extended, in July 2017 after the Premier League win, hinting at differences with the Blues hierarchy.

Speculation had shrouded his position last season and it had looked like Conte might depart in early February after successive losses by a three-goal margin to Bournemouth and Watford but he saw the season out.

He had done little to hide his dissent over Chelsea’s transfer business in the summer of 2017 and winter of 2017-18, making thinly-veiled criticisms of “the club”.

Antonio Conte repeatedly hinted at tension with the Chelsea hierarchy (Adam Davy/PA)
Antonio Conte repeatedly hinted at tension with the Chelsea hierarchy (Adam Davy/PA)

There were also reports of friction with the players.

Playmaker Cesc Fabregas ‘liked’ a message welcoming Conte’s departure on Twitter, later apologising and suggesting he had pressed the button in error.

With two trophies, Conte’s spell as boss will likely be considered a success.

Chelsea beat Manchester United on May 19 for Conte’s second trophy of the spell, after which he said he was a “serial winner” who “can’t change”, citing his contract as he answered speculation it would be his final match in charge.

A fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification and ending the season 30 points behind winners Manchester City did little to strengthen Conte’s argument to stay on.

Owner Roman Abramovich is enduring a difficult period at Chelsea (Mike Egerton/PA)
Owner Roman Abramovich is enduring a difficult period at Chelsea (Mike Egerton/PA)

If the reports prove to be true, Chelsea would be looking for a 13th permanent boss of Roman Abramovich’s ownership, which began in June 2003.

There is a strong argument that this is the most turbulent time of Abramovich’s ownership.

The Russian’s visa issues, the indefinite halting of plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge and the challenge for consistent on-field success all point to difficult times ahead.

Chelsea’s first game of pre-season match is the July 23 friendly with Perth Glory in Western Australia.

Napoli’s Italy midfielder Jorginho has been linked with Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA)
Napoli’s Italy midfielder Jorginho has been linked with Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA)

And the Blues could have a new boss and a new midfielder by then.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis on Wednesday said “the Sarri affair is nearly at its conclusion”, alluding to the likelihood of the 59-year-old moving to Stamford Bridge.

And Italy midfielder Jorginho could also move to London from the Naples club.

- Press Association

More in this Section

Saracens ‘apologise unreservedly for mistakes’ and accept relegationSaracens ‘apologise unreservedly for mistakes’ and accept relegation

Mayweather teases McGregor rematch after Irishman’s stunning UFC returnMayweather teases McGregor rematch after Irishman’s stunning UFC return

Tullaroan boss hails side's character after dramatic Croke Park win over Fr O'Neill'sTullaroan boss hails side's character after dramatic Croke Park win over Fr O'Neill's

Washout puts Ireland on verge of historic series win over West IndiesWashout puts Ireland on verge of historic series win over West Indies


Lifestyle

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

The recent rescue of a trawler 20km north of Fanad Head in Co Donegal gave us a glimpse of the enormous seas that occasionally strike that part of the coast.Islands of Ireland: Inishbeg Island begs the question

More From The Irish Examiner