Antonio Conte's appointment as Chelsea's next permanent manager has been a foregone conclusion for what seems like months, but the wait for the deal to become official is now over: the 46-year-old has been confirmed as the Blues next “First Team Head Coach”.
Having a manager in place well before the end of the season is obviously good news, but international tournaments mean that Conte won't be getting that much time to work with the players before next season begins. He's committed to Italy until the end of Euro 2016, and Chelsea's Brazilian contingent also have both the summer Olympics and Copa America to deal with as well.
Don't expect to hear much about his new job from Conte until his time with the Azzurri is over:
I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League ... I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.
Hopefully the Blues can finish the season strongly, identify and acquire the players they need to strengthen the squad, and turn 2016/17 into a bounce-back year to match whatever the heck this season has been.
Welcome, Antonio. May you last at least your three years.