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Jorge Sampaoli reveals why he lost out to Antonio Conte for the Chelsea job

Truth or (Pulp) Fiction?

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Interesting quotes from Jorge Sampaoli on Argentinian radio by way of Gazzetta dello Sport's English edition.  The former Chile national team manager claims he was in fact Chelsea's first choice to take over this summer, but when Antonio Conte entered the picture, he suddenly didn't stand a chance thanks first and foremost to not knowing English.

"I had a meeting with Chelsea's owner and he told me that I was the first option.  I was about to be their new coach.  But then Conte appeared and it became a competition between us. It was him or me. I needed some time in order to improve my English but this kind of club doesn't give you that time."

"The Premier League is definitely the best league in the world and I wanted to coach there.  But as I said, it didn't happen, sadly."

-Jorge Sampaoli; source: Radio Vorterix via Gazzetta World

Spanish is no doubt a common language in the Chelsea dressing room, but English remains the "official" language, so to speak.  Incidentally, there's a story in the Star that plays nicely into Sampaoli's version of events, with Chelsea supposedly paying for Conte's English lessons since January.  Conte himself has claimed that he'd been learning for some time now.

(The Star also claims that Conte will be given "full control" over "all" Chelsea players — presumably they mean in terms of deciding their fates rather than controlling the U18-U21 teams, which would be a monumentally stupid arrangement.)

In any case, further confirmation of Conte's imminent confirmation and summertime arrival.  With nine games left in this wretched season, that can't come soon enough.

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