Antonio Conte will cost Chelsea the full £9.5m as Italian puts job search on hold

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Happy to wait | Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Happy to wait | Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Antonio Conte is expected to receive the final year owing on his Chelsea contract - worth £9.5million - after confirming he will not take another job until next summer.

The Italian has been out of work since Chelsea fired him in July and brought in Maurizio Sarri from Napoli as his replacement.

Since paying Luiz Felipe Scolari and his staff their contracts in full - at a cost of £42m - when they were dismissed in 2009, Chelsea have insisted on awarding sacked managers their wages only until they find another job.

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Conte, whose deal at Chelsea expired in 2019, was in contention to succeed Julen Lopetegui as Real Madrid coach this month, but Santiago Scolari has been installed at the Bernabeu.

Speaking for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge, the former Juventus and Italy coach insists he will not consider returning to work until this season is over.

“I don’t feel the need to coach now,” said the 49-year-old. “My plan is to wait until June. The problem now is that for a coach who is of my level it’s better to wait rather than to jump on a train already in motion. Serie A is a great league and being in Italy is always attractive. I would like to come home, but I won’t rule out a job abroad.”

Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

His plans, however, do not necessarily mean an end to the saga, as Conte has threatened to take legal action for damages to his reputation and lost earnings. Sources in Italy suggest he feels Chelsea’s decision to sack him so late in the close season - when pre-season training was under way - meant he missed out on finding another position for this campaign.

However, Chelsea are ready to counter claim over what they deemed to be unprofessional behaviour during his two-year spell at the helm. This included texting striker Diego Costa to find another club in the summer of 2017. The player went public and Chelsea believe it cost them millions in revenue, despite then selling the Spain striker to Atletico Madrid for £57m.

Conte won the Premier League and FA Cup during his time in west London, but he fell out with the hierarchy over transfers, while players such as David Luiz and Willian have admitted they would have left the club had the coach stayed.

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Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen has rowed back from talk linking him with a move away from Chelsea in January.

Christensen’s father, Sten, who acts as his agent, warned last month the Denmark centre-back would demand a transfer if he did not play more. The 22-year-old was a regular in the first team last season, but has started just six times this term, none of which have been in the Premier League.

However, when asked about his father’s comments, Christensen told Sky Sports: “I don’t think so. It is different to last season, when I played a lot of games. This season hasn’t been like that. That is always difficult for a player, but I will see what happens.

“I think if you ask every player who is not playing if they’re happy, they’re going to say no. Everyone wants to play. But I can’t do anything else other than go back to train and do my best. And whenever I get the opportunity, I have to perform well.”

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