As shown by Claudio Ranieri's sacking at Leicester City last week, the job of being a football manager, especially in modern football, is always at risk no matter the legacy you carry from the past. Present achievements are what matter the most. Most managers, including Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte, are more than aware of the situation, even if they’d prefer it to be more stable.
“I think in this type of modern football, it's not easy to start a project and to be sure you will stay a long time in the same team. But honestly not only for me, for all coaches.”
“If you have the possibility to stay for many years in the same team, then you can work to improve your idea, to improve your players, but the result in football is very important.”
“We all know this, and we know it can happen, that one season, you can win the title, the next season you can go away.”
-Antonio Conte; Source: London Evening Standard
Like most other managers, Conte was not too happy about Ranieri getting the sack, and exposing clearly the harsh realities (and unfairness?) of modern football. Head coaches are an increasingly dispensable commodity and no one likes to see their job reduced to such status. Hard to plan and build for the long-term, which is often the remit of coaches, without the guaranteed job security to actually plan and build.
Depending on how much you want to read into Conte’s comments, he’s either just talking in generalities, talking specifically of his own situation, or serving a warning to the Chelsea Board and owner to not lose their cool if and when results turn a bit sideways. Or, if you’re Italian newspaper La Repubblica (via Eurosport), this means that Conte wants to leave Chelsea because he’s having problems inside and outside the club.
Despite always speaking well of Abramovich, the newspaper claims that Conte is still upset by the decision to not allow him to bring nine assistants to the team, allowing him to choose only three. Conte is also annoyed by the club’s delay in deciding our transfer budget for the summer (even though Conte’s not in charge of transfers at Chelsea). Outside the club's quarters, Conte is apparently struggling to adapt to London as his family remains living in Italy — this he’s spoken about repeatedly but never in such drastic terms.
Trying to pounce on the opportunity, representatives from Serie A club Inter Milan have supposedly made contacts with Conte already. With current Inter manager Stefano Pioli failing to reach the club's expectations of a Champions League berth, they are ready to pay a €30 million termination fee to Chelsea to get Conte.
As before, this all seem quite ludicrous. While there is a possibility that Conte has not fully adapted to living (alone) in London, he seems more than happy to be at Chelsea to be working and winning with these players. Nothing in his words or his mannerisms indicate any major unhappiness, and even when similar rumors started up earlier in the season after the back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte’s job was never in doubt outside of bookies’ fantasies.
Hopefully at the end of the season, with a trophy or two in hand and a Champions League campaign on the horizon, we can put these silly rumours to rest by giving Conte a much deserved new contract.