Conte on his way and Chelsea know who they want

Chelsea have already decided who they want to replace Antonio Conte this summer.

The Blues are set to part company with the Italian at the end of the season, with the club now almost certain to miss out on a top-four finish, after what has been a hugely disappointing defence of their Premier League title.

Conte has been critical of Chelsea’s hierarchy for some time, questioning their transfer policy and with results on the pitch not what is expected – the Italian is not expected to continue his tenure beyond this season.

Club director Marina Granovskaia is the figure head of the footballing operations, and she has been overseeing the search for potential replacements – and sources close to the club have confirmed to me that they have had no shortage of suitors looking to step into Conte’s hot-seat.

Chelsea’s heavy defeat to Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday virtually guaranteed their top-four failure, and that is just nowhere near the standard set by owner Roman Abramovich.

Granovskaia will now push ahead with plans, and I am told that they know who their top target is, and plans are already afoot for a deal.

Amongst those linked, many of the reported targets are out of work already – with former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique the current favourite, ahead of ex-Borussia Dortmund chief Thomas Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti – the former Chelsea man, who left his role with Bayern Munich earlier this term – whilst Juventus’ Max Allegri and German boss Joachim Loew are also said to be in contention.

Speaking of his future Conte, who himself is being linked with a host of other jobs, said: “I’m not worried.

“I’m giving – the players are giving – everything. We are working very hard to try to have a good season but, in the end, we are deserving this season. It means our value is this.

“I have my opinion but I’m very tired of always repeating the same things. I don’t want to create problems. If we are in this position, we deserve to be in this position.”

Bookmakers are convinced that Conte will have left Stamford Bridge by the start of next season and he is 4/11 not to have left..

“Being the first Chelsea manager to lose a home league game against Tottenham for almost three decades could well be the final nail in the coffin for Conte and we expect him to depart in the summer,” said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.

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