Thursday 14 December 2017

Jamie Carragher: I'll be surprised if Antonio Conte is still at Chelsea in a year

Arsenal versus Chelsea; Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte in deep thought as Wenger passes behind him (Photo by Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Arsenal versus Chelsea; Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte in deep thought as Wenger passes behind him (Photo by Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Alistair Tweedale

Jamie Carragher has admitted he will be 'very surprised' if Chelsea's title-winning manager Antonio Conte is still in his position in 12 months' time.

The Italian has endured a frustrating summer during which the club have failed to land his top targets, including Romelu Lukaku, who went to Manchester United, Danilo, who moved to Manchester City and Juventus's Alex Sandro.

Meanwhile, he lost Nemanja Matic to a rival in United and has been so far unable to offload Diego Costa.

He has not concealed his discontent over recent months, and after Sunday's Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, Conte refused to answer questions over whether he had a squad capable of challenging in four competitions.

And former Liverpool defender Carragher says these problems could boil over at Chelsea, who 'don't value managers', and where a great deal of transfer dealings are taken by the club's hierarchy rather than the manager.

Carragher told The Debate on Sky Sports: "I'd be very surprised if I'm sitting here in 12 months' time and he's the Chelsea manager."

"I think he's the type of manager who won't accept the involvement from people above, especially on the back of winning the title.

"He's not going to go quietly and it's not great for the club when the manager is coming out and speaking the way he is."

Chelsea sacked Jose Mourinho, their most successful ever manager, in December 2015, just a few months into the season after he had led the club to the Premier League title for a third time, while Roberto Di Matteo lasted until November after a Champions League triumph in May 2012.

Managers rarely last more than two years under owner Roman Abramovich.

"Chelsea have a business model. They are bit like Real Madrid in this sense - they don't value the manager like other clubs," Carragher continued.

"They're not scared to get rid of a top manager or get rid of someone after 12 months, but you can't really complain. Since Abramovich came in I think they've won more trophies than anyone.

"They have a model where they have a big say over how that club is run; the owner, [technical director Michael] Emanalo and people involved there.

"Maybe that is a frustration for Conte. He wants more players coming in.

Carragher also said the Matic deal could prove a deal-breaker for Conte. The Serbian midfielder played a vital role in last season's title win, and losing him will be seen as a huge blow.

"The Matic deal is a perfect example. If you're a manager why would you want to let him go - especially to a rival?

"But they'll be saying '£45m for a 29-year-old and we've got a replacement [in Tiemoue Bakayoko] who is 22'. We don't know how good he is going to be, but that has been their business model going forward.

"The success they've had in changing managers... they're not going to take anything off Conte. I would be very surprised if he's here in 12 months."

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