Italian boss Antonio Conte, on the cusp of guiding Chelsea to the Premier League title, refused to give a firm answer when asked point-blank if he would stay with the club next season. Conte is being aggressively pursued by Suning Holdings, the Chinese group that owns Inter Milan.
“I have a contract for another two years with Chelsea,” the manager said. “But, for me and my players, the important thing is to be focused on the present. This moment is very important.”
Indeed, once it became clear that the Blues would win the league and appear in the FA Cup final, there was little doubt in most people’s minds that Conte would stay for at least the remainder of his contract, eying a Champions League title in his second season. After the firing of former boss Stefano Pioli, however, Inter have been extremely up-front about their intention to lure the Italian back to his homeland.
Though it may sound crazy at first, there are actually several reasons Conte may want to leave. First, as The Guardian reports, he makes significantly less money than fellow Premier League titans Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, and Pep Guardiola, even though his club has outclassed Arsenal, Manchester United, and Manchester City by miles this season. Second, Conte’s wife and daughter have not yet relocated to England from Italy, a sign that the family may have always viewed his move as temporary.
Finally, wouldn’t it make sense for Conte to leave on a high note? Having returned Chelsea back to glory after an embarrassing 2015-2016 campaign, he has already won a permanent place in Premier League history. He’s also set the bar extremely high. Only a Champions League title, or at least an extremely impressive showing, could top what Conte has accomplished this season, and anything less than a Premier League title repeat will be viewed as a failure. Chelsea are not above firing a manager less than a year after he wins them the league – just ask Mourinho.