The circle is now almost complete.
About three weeks ago, the first rumor of a new contract extension for Antonio Conte emerged from the pages of the Daily Mail. Predicated on winning the Premier League, this story continues to be the one that makes the most sense. While Chelsea look odds-on to win the league, rewarding Conte for something he hasn’t actually done seems silly.
A rumor just before that Mail story dropped started the whole Inter-want-Conte sidebar, and since then, follow-up rumors have claimed everything from Conte agreeing to a new deal with Chelsea to Conte agreeing to a new deal with Inter, from Conte loving life in England to Conte hating life in England. And it’s only the beginning of March!
The latest reasonable rumors come from the Express, the Mirror, and the Star — we’ve had to readjust the usual scales of reliability after dealing with the Italian media’s reports in recent days — with matching claims that Chelsea have opened “preliminary talks” for a new deal set to be signed in the summer. There’s very little subtlety about this sequence of events, with the supposed Italian interest giving Conte’s team plenty of leverage, should they choose to exercise it.
Of course, Conte himself has derided the notion of money ruling all football decisions, so all this could just be media nonsense. Are contract talks going on between Conte and Chelsea? Probably. Is Conte going back to Italy a real threat? Probably not. But it looks like nothing short of an actual new contract will stop these stories now that we’ve crossed the rumor mill’s threshold, which in turn means we’ll have to regularly talk about them, however briefly.
So, until the next round of Conte rumors, work work work, fight fight fight, and pay great attention.