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Antonio Conte is ready to make Chelsea pay over £10million to have him replaced as manager.
The Italian expects to be dismissed after the FA Cup Final and intends to hold the club to a compensation clause entitling him to a full year of salary.
Under the severance terms of a contract the Premier League club upgraded, but did not extend, last summer Conte must be paid for one year or until he takes on a new managerial position.
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That July renewal – implemented for public relations purposes amidst a bitter conflict over transfer strategy – is understood to have increased Conte’s basic wage to an annual €6.5million after tax.
While Conte and his representatives have spent much of the past season attempting to find a new place of employment for the 48-year-old, no opportunity of genuine appeal has presented itself. As such, Conte is readying to take a sabbatical from management in the knowledge that it will be bankrolled by a club whose hierarchy he has spent much of the last two years in conflict with.
The Italian’s discontent with Chelsea was driven by owner Roman Abramovich and principal director Marina Granovskaia’s refusal to reinforce the squad such that he could properly contend to win the Champions League.
Winning Europe’s premier club trophy remains Conte’s overriding ambition as a coach, limiting the positions that would be of interest to him.
Although Conte’s services were offered to Paris Saint-Germain as a successor to Unai Emery, the Ligue 1 club preferred other candidates.
PSG ultimately offered the position to Thomas Tuchel on the instruction of the Emir of Qatar, and the German is understood to have accepted the role ahead of interest from Chelsea.
Conte was shortlisted to lead Italy’s European Championship qualifying campaign along with two other past Premier League and Serie A winning coaches in Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini. Like Ancelotti, however, he was unimpressed with the both the conditions under which he would have to work and the financial terms on offer, rejecting Italy’s proposal.
Mancini will be formally appointed later this month once his severance terms have been agreed with Zenit St Petersburg.