Tuesday 23 January 2018

Roman Abramovich will meet Antonio Conte in next seven days to seal Chelsea deal

Roman Abramovich will meet Antonio Conte within a week to discuss becoming Chelsea manager
Roman Abramovich will meet Antonio Conte within a week to discuss becoming Chelsea manager

Matt Law

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.

Italy coach Conte 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 meeting between Abramovich and the 46-year-old.

Contrary to reports in Italy, Abramovich has not yet told the Chelsea squad that Conte will be the next manager despite the fact one senior player has informed team-mates it is a done deal.

Abramovich, though, now appears close to putting an end to any uncertainty regarding the Chelsea post, unless Conte somehow manages to talk himself out of the job.

An item on the agenda between Conte and Abramovich could be the future of John Terry, who had stated that he will not be offered a new contract by Chelsea 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 (Chelsea) or somewhere else, for sure.”

One of the final details to be agreed between Conte and Chelsea is the staff he will work alongside 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 also 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 upwards of £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 development of Loftus-Cheek, it is understood the youngster’s 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.

Along with allowing him to spend big money on new players this summer, Chelsea have requested assurances from Conte that he will also give their young players a chance.

Chelsea are encouraged by the work Conte did with Paul Pogba, who he signed as a 19-year-old from Manchester United and helped to develop into one of the world’s best midfielders.

Despite the fact he already had Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchiso and Arturo Vidal at his disposal, Conte still handed Pogba 37 appearances during his first season at Juventus as the Frenchman immediately became a first-team regular.

Speaking about how Conte brought him through, Pogba has previously said: “He told me ‘with me, there's no youth, it's the best who plays.

"If you think you can establish yourself here, come, and we'll see if you're able to do it, show us what you can do.' He pushed me, he struck where it was needed to convince me. I like being given challenges like that. I like indirect provocation.”

Although Conte wants to add to the Chelsea midfield, with Roma duo Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic on his radar, the club hope he can do a similar job with Loftus-Cheek as he did with Pogba.


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