Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte lined up for Serie A return

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 20 September 2018, 13:24

It is easy to imagine former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte enjoying his current status of unemployed, watching on with all of the interest and none of the stress as many of the sides he has previously been linked with struggle in the early part of the new campaign.

After all, a brief rest from his intense management style must be a relief, even if this workaholic perfectionist must be itching to get back in the hot seat.

Of course, he very vocally struggled with living in London, but luckily for him, there seems to be more than one possible opportunity opening up on the peninsula.

The former Italy Commissario tecnico might well soon be back at one of Italy’s biggest clubs, with both Milan-based giants and AS Roma all having suffered disappointing starts to the new campaign.

Perhaps the most obvious of this trio is Inter, Conte having been long-since linked with a move to the Nerazzurri. After being blessed with a wealth of talented additions to the squad this summer, current boss Luciano Spalletti has looked clueless in the dugout, and owners Suning will be impatient to see a return on their investment.

Talk of their summer spending leading them to challenge Juventus for the title looks to be unfounded as Inter suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Sassuolo on opening day, let a 2-0 lead at home to mediocre Torino slip to 2-2, and only a 3-0 win over struggling Bologna permeated a 1-0 loss at home to newly-promoted Parma.

A fortunate win versus Tottenham in the Champions League was more to do with the goal scoring prowess of striker Mauro Icardi than anything the bumbling boss had brought about, perhaps leading those in charge to wonder what Conte – with his exceptional motivational skills – could do with that very same squad.

Meanwhile their neighbours Milan are also finding it difficult to bring about the desired results with Coach Gennaro Gattuso yet to bring the best from their star striker Gonzalo Higuain. They too lost a 2-0 lead only to lose 3-2 to Napoli, their latest 1-1 draw versus Crotone not good enough as regards their ambitions of getting back in the Champions League.

However, with former Rossoneri stars Leonardo and Paolo Maldini in backroom positions at the club, it is difficult to see that they will be too trigger-happy with their former team-mate. Stability is the aim after many turbulent years, but if things fail to improve surely it won’t be too long before the temptation of an available Conte becomes too great.

Finally Roma supporters seem to be losing patience with Eusebio Di Francesco, even taking to account his achievement in taking the club to a Champions League semi-final last season. Player sales once again in the summer have undoubtedly been a factor in poor early results that have seen the Giallorossi only take five points from their opening four matches versus Torino, Chievo, Milan and Atalanta, but the Coach’s position is looking increasingly fragile.

Reports in this weekend’s Italian sports newspapers suggested that American owner James Pallotti would monitor Di Francesco’s performance over matches with Real Madrid, Bologna, Frosinone and Lazio, with the first of those ending in a 3-0 defeat on Wednesday evening.

More worrying than the result was the boss’ seeming lack of ideas, and sporting director Monchi was forced to come out and defend him.

“I’m convinced that Di Francesco will find the right way out of this period, I’m concerned but I’m not pessimistic,” the Spaniard revealed to reporters following defeat at the Bernabeu. “When things are difficult it gives me more desire to work. I remain confident that the Coach will find the right path.”

Revenue generated from Champions League qualification is vital to the growth of this club, and Pallotta could be tempted by Conte if he feels that the current man has exhausted all of his options.

All of the above situations could bring the former Chelsea boss back to Italy, and it’s really just a matter of fastest finger first for each of this trio of struggling sides.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson
(Bolton Wanderers)
21st August