Chelsea face hefty compensation package as Antonio Conte considers break from football
Antonio Conte will consider taking a break if he is sacked as Chelsea head coach, which would be a blow to the club’s hopes of avoiding an expensive compensation package.
Conte has been left in the dark over his future since leading Chelsea to FA Cup success last Saturday, with a game of brinkmanship threatening to be played out.
The Italian has made it clear he will not walk away from the final year of his contract, meaning Chelsea must sack him and risk paying a compensation bill of up to £9million to replace him.
One simple solution to the impasse would be for Conte to walk straight into another job, but the potential options for him are running out. Roberto Mancini has taken over the Italian national team, Thomas Tuchel was appointed by Paris Saint-Germain and Max Allegri looks set to stay at Juventus.
Inter Milan are preparing to keep Luciano Spalletti after qualifying for the Champions League and Carlo Ancelotti is being touted as a possible replacement for Maurizio Sarri if the 59-year-old leaves Napoli.
Conte is believed to be willing to wait for one of Europe’s top jobs if he is forced to leave Stamford Bridge, which could be costly for Chelsea.
The Blues would have to continue to pay Conte for the remaining 12 months of his contract while he is out of work, meaning a year-long sabbatical would cost them the full £9m.
There is also the issue of Conte’s staff, who would be due pay offs even if the Italian quit but it is not certain that they would all follow the former Juventus manager out of Chelsea.
Goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli is thought to be prepared to stay at Chelsea, particularly if Conte leaves without a job to walk back into.
Spinelli, who was part of Conte’s staff with the Italian national team, has worked well with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and is highly rated by the Belgian and within Stamford Bridge.
Other than saving them money, Spinelli could solve a possible problem for Chelsea if he stayed on, as former goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon, who is still employed by the club, does not get on with Courtois.
Courtois is yet to sign an extension to his contract that only has 12 months to run and the prospect of working with Lollichon again could be enough to convince him to leave Chelsea.
Despite uncertainty over Conte and his staff, Chelsea are making transfer plans for the summer and could be forced to make a big decision over record signing Alvaro Morata.
Juventus have already shown an interest in taking Morata back and AC Milan are the latest club to investigate whether or not they could afford to sign the Spaniard.
It is not believed AC could match Chelsea’s £57m valuation of Morata, but the Italians could look to take him on loan with a view to a permanent move.
Chelsea are not desperate to sell Morata, who they believe will be better next season, but they are willing to let him go if he asks to leave or if they can finance a move for a replacement by cashing in.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, who is also of interest to Tottenham Hotspur, are two forwards on Chelsea’s radar.