Real Madrid next manager: Antonio Conte is the top target to replace Zinedine Zidane
And that could be the key to unlock the logjam in Chelsea’s search for a manager to succeed Conte.
The Spanish giants have turned their attentions to Conte after failing in their bid to land Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, who now looks set to stay at White Hart Lane.
Conte has been expected to be axed by Chelsea all summer after a season of wrangles with the Chelsea board and a disappointing fifth-placed finish in the league, even if he did win the FA Cup.
Chelsea though would have to pay up the £9 million worth they would owe the Italian for the year he has remaining of his contract if they were to sack him – unless he walked into another job.
So the news that Real Madrid may be ready to move in for the Italian is exactly what Chelsea want to hear.
Real Madrid next manager: Antonio Conte is expected to leave Chelsea
Conte, according to sources in Spain, has moved to the top of Real’s list of potential successors to Zidane, who two weeks ago after winning the Champions League.
Chelsea came close to finding the man to replace Conte in Maurizio Sarri of Napoli, but that move stalled with the Premier League club unwilling to pay his £7 million release fee.
They are now hoping the Italian can resolve his contractual dispute with the club before it can be revived.
Conte fits the highly successful profile of manager that Real want, as a title winner in both England and Italy, especially with Max Allegri set to stay at Juventus and Arsene Wenger yet to decide on his future.
Chelsea have also talked to former Paris St Germain manager Laurent Blanc, who is a free agent – but a club moving in for Conte would free up more money, and perhaps the merry go round might begin.
Real have contacted Conte but the Italian is understood to be reluctant to commit to formal talks at this stage as he is still under contract to Chelsea.