Chelsea expect Antonio Conte to stay as manager despite ongoing speculation

16 June 2017 10:24

Chelsea insist Antonio Conte is happy at Stamford Bridge and reports to the contrary are false.

Conte won the Premier League title in his first season in charge, but the subject of his future has been continually raised in recent months.

Press Association Sport understands Conte, who is currently on holiday, is committed to Chelsea and will return for pre-season in the first week of July.

Chelsea are calm over the speculation, which they consider to be unfounded, and sources at the club say it is business as usual.

There have been suggestions Conte will demand an improved contract, 12 months into his existing three-year deal, and wants more of a say over transfers and the academy. Speculation that tension is growing between the Italian and Chelsea's hierarchy over these matters has been dismissed.

Conte could yet be rewarded for his first season in charge with a new deal - title-winning managers often receive improved terms - but is happy with the academy and transfer structure at Chelsea, preferring to focus on coaching the first team.

Despite winning the Premier League and finishing runners-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup, Conte and Chelsea's hierarchy recognise the need to reinforce the squad ahead of a return to the Champions League in the forthcoming season.

Striker Diego Costa recently claimed Conte had sent him a text message that he was not part of his future plans and could leave this summer.

That prompted suggestions of friction between Conte and the Chelsea leadership, given Costa's availability becoming public could reduce his value in the transfer market.

But Conte has an excellent relationship with technical director Michael Emenalo, owner Roman Abramovich and the board.

Conte joined on a three-year contract last July after two years as Italy head coach.

He was named first-team head coach, rather than manager, outlining his priorities are on the training pitch, rather than in transfer negotiations, for example.

He has made Emenalo and director Marina Granovskaia aware of his transfer wish list and Chelsea will continue recruitment efforts.

The 47-year-old, who won three Serie A titles with Juventus, had been linked with Inter Milan prior to Luciano Spalletti's recent appointment as Inter boss.

Conte, after winning the title last month, said his wife Elisabetta and daughter Vittoria would, as planned, be moving to London this summer.

Source: PA