Antonio Conte ready to seal Chelsea deal
Antonio Conte will meet with Roman Abramovich in Monte Carlo inside the next week to thrash out the final details of his appointment as Chelsea's next permanent manager.
The Italy head coach is poised to shake hands on a three-year deal to take over as Chelsea manager next season when he meets Abramovich in person.
Conte's brother Daniele owns the One Apple restaurant in Monte Carlo, which could play host to the decisive meeting.
Contrary to reports in Italy, Abramovich has not yet told the Chelsea squad that the 46-year-old will be the next manager despite one senior player informing team-mates it is a done deal.
Abramovich, though, now appears close to ending any uncertainty regarding the Chelsea post, unless Conte manages to talk himself out of the job.
A topic for discussion could be the future of John Terry, who had stated that Chelsea would not be offering him a new contract but this week claimed he was hopeful of convincing the club to extend his deal.
Chelsea have always maintained that a decision over Terry's future could not be made until a new manager is appointed. "I'm very hopeful," said Terry.
"I've been at Chelsea 21 years and I'll never kind of give up until it finally happens. But, who knows? I've still got a lot to give, whether that's here or somewhere else."
A final detail to be agreed between Conte and Chelsea is his staff at Stamford Bridge, with the former Juventus manager hoping to bring in as many as five of his own men.
Conte wants his long-term assistant Angelo Alessio, defensive coach Massimo Carrera, fitness coach Paolo Bertelli, his brother Gianluca, who scouts the opposition, and Mauro Sandreani, who specialises in tactics and talent-spotting.
Chelsea are keen for Conte to keep Steve Holland on his first-team staff and want to find a place for club legend Didier Drogba, when his playing contract with Montreal Impact expires at the end of the forthcoming Major League Soccer season.
Conte has so far impressed the Chelsea hierarchy in talks conducted by director Marina Granovskaia, with the detail even stretching to how he will utilise and develop Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the club's youngsters.
Loftus-Cheek this week signed a new five-year contract that could earn him more than £60,000 a week and the club have promised the 20-year-old more first-team opportunities.
While technical director Michael Emenalo has mapped out a plan for the player's development, it is understood his name has already come up in conversation between Chelsea and Conte.
Chelsea are more desperate than ever not to waste their young talent or see their graduates excel elsewhere, following the success of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku away from the club. (© Daily Telegraph, London)