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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Antonio Conte closing in on Chelsea job after positive talks - reports

The ESPN FC crew answer your tweets on retroactive cards for diving, who will advance to the UCL quarterfinals and more.

Antonio Conte could be named the next manager at Chelsea within the next 10 days after encouraging talks between the current Italy boss and Blues representatives on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

The 46-year-old Conte has a contract until the end of this summer's European Championship, and is now hammering out the details of a three-year contract to become Jose Mourinho's permanent successor, Sky Sports and The Guardian reported.

Sources told ESPN FC earlier this week that the Italian had moved ahead of Juventus coach Masimiliano Allegri, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, former Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli and Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino to become the front-runner for the position.

Antonio Conte could do well in charge of Italy, but failure would be devastating.
Antonio Conte's Italy contract expires after the upcoming European Championship.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Tuesday that a deal had already been struck in principle between Chelsea and Conte, with Blues owner Roman Abramovich set to take a final decision next month.

Conte is said to have agreed a two-year contract worth €16 million, according to Tuttomercatoweb, which reported that an agreement in principle exists and said the situation would be assessed further in April. 

The Daily Mail said that Conte held talks with Abramovich at a meeting in Monaco brokered by Federico Pastorello, the Italian agent responsible for bringing Gianfranco Zola and Carlo Cudicini to Stamford Bridge.

Conte and Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo travelled separately to watch Juventus take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16 in Turin on Tuesday night, and the Italy coach is also reportedly taking English lessons in preparation for life in the Premier League next season.

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