Antonio Conte has not yet been confirmed as Chelsea manager, but the talk has already progressed to what his coaching and support staff might look like once he arrives in the SW6. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but apparenlty not only does Conte favor a large entourage, at least according to The Times, it might also be causing issues in the actual negotiations.
Antonio Conte's proposed move to Chelsea is being held up by his insistence on bringing a huge backroom team with him to Stamford Bridge. The Italy coach is supported by a technical staff of 18 people at present and it is understood he wants at least ten of them to follow him to Chelsea.
Ten! That is indeed impressive. And while some of those guys include technical and medical staff as well, they could also created redundancies with key coaches who have survived outside the managerial merry-go-round at Chelsea. We're talking the likes of Steve Holland (at Chelsea since 2009; assistant since 2011), Christophe Lollichon (Chelsea goalkeeping coach since 2007), and Chris Jones (at Chelsea since 2006; first-team fitness coach since 2012). Of course, they are just as likely to work cooperatively. Outside of paying more people, there's no drawback to having more coaches at the club. In fact, it might even be helpful.
So, who are these Tremendous Ten who are set to follow Conte? Here's The Times' list.
- Two assistants, who have been with him since Siena (Angelo Alessio and Massimo Carrera, the latter of whom, The Sun gleefully declared, has a criminal conviction to his name).
- Two long-serving fitness coaches, (Professor?) Paolo Bertelli and Constantino Coratti
- Long-time Genoa goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli
- Video analyst Antonio Gagliardi
- And a team doctor, a physio, a nutritionist, and a masseur, all from the Italian setup.
Earlier reports had also claimed that Conte would like to bring his younger brother Gianluca (another assistant or perhaps scout?), as well as a strength and conditioning coach who used to work at Barcelona named Julio Tous. There's another assistant (Conte apparently has six), Mauro Sandreani, whose name regularly pops up, too, though it should be pointed out that The Guardian calls Sandreani a scout, so who knows what's going on there. Either way, that's about a dozen new faces for the backroom staff, which, given the fickle and short-term nature of these appointments, could be an unnecessarily large investment on Chelsea's part.
Then again, we should be doing everything in our power to make next season the best season possible. If that includes throwing a couple million onto the coaching staff budget, so be it. Small price to pay in the end.