Are Chelsea going to be stuck with Antonio Conte next season?
By Joe Harker
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte doesn't want to be Chelsea manager, but he would really like the €11m payoff the club would need to pay to sack him and his backroom staff. Chelsea don't want manager Antonio Conte to stay at the club, but they don't want to pay him and his backroom staff compensation for being sacked. This is what is known as an impasse.
Conte still has one year left on his contract and wants his payoff before leaving the club. Chelsea expected that he would be offered another job by a top club, handily bypassing the need to sack him and pay compensation. It hasn't quite worked out like that and neither party seems willing to back down in this dispute. As thing stand, Conte will be managing Chelsea for one more season.
The Italian coach took training as players returned for pre-season, as is his job while he still has it. Former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri was supposed to have replaced him by now but they cannot bring one manager in without getting rid of the other or becoming embroiled in some sort of terrible idea for a sitcom.
Some Chelsea fans wonder whether the club should just stick with Conte for one more season. He is a Premier League and FA Cup winning manager during his time at the club and he remains one of the best head coaches in football. Conte and Chelsea may both desire a parting of the ways but if they are stuck together next season the manager might knuckle down and get on with the job in his final year.
However, Conte not leaving poses more problems to Chelsea than just who is in the dugout for the club next season. The change in management should have happened by now and it is holding up transfer activity for the club.
Chelsea need to make deals and bring in new players to challenge next season but are unlikely to sign players for a manager who is not planning on sticking around. They want to bring in Sarri so he can start working on his transfer targets and there is only a month to go before the Premier League transfer window closes.
Conte is still the boss around Chelsea for now and by taking training he is sending out the message that he has no intention of ditching his role as manager unless he gets the payoff he wants. Either club or manager is going to have to blink before this situation is resolved.