Antonio Conte 'can't wait to leave Chelsea,' says Gianluca Vialli
Antonio Conte "can't wait to leave Chelsea" after becoming disillusioned with a lack of influence over the club's transfer policy, according to friend and former Blues boss Gianluca Vialli.
Chelsea and Conte are widely expected to part ways at the end of this season amid escalating public tensions with the club hierarchy that date back to last summer's troubled transfer window. Both the Italian Football Federation and Paris Saint-Germain have been mentioned as potential suitors.
Vialli is confident that Conte will have his pick of top jobs when he leaves Stamford Bridge, and claimed after Chelsea's damaging 3-1 home defeat to rivals Tottenham on Sunday that his departure this summer is guaranteed.
"Conte can't wait to leave Chelsea," Vialli told Sky Sport Italia in his role as a pundit on the match. "He can't stand that they sell or buy players without consulting him. The truth is, Chelsea would like a manager who is more of a club man."
Conte declined to criticise his employers during Sunday's postmatch news conference, but Conte has made no secret of his frustration with his lack of input into Chelsea's wider recruitment policy, coupled with the club's unwillingness or inability to secure his recommended transfer targets.
Manchester United successfully hijacked negotiations to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton, while Leonardo Bonucci and Fernando Llorente were deemed too old and Alexis Sanchez and Virgil van Dijk too expensive to fit the club's strategy of signing cheaper, younger talent with potential and resale value.
Conte encountered similar problems at Juventus, where he claimed he was not being given the resources to lead a serious challenge for the Champions League. Speaking to Sky Italia in January, the 48-year-old said that he has always taken over elite clubs making "economic sacrifices."
Vialli believes Conte will have no trouble finding a new job that fulfils his ambitions.
"Whether it's the Nazionale [Italian national team] or Paris Saint-Germain, he'll find a place where he can start winning something important again," he added. "There will be a queue of contracts for him to sign."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.