Every report you see about Conte’s supposed sudden unhappiness — and it’s certainly sudden after months and months of only hearing “very ‘appy” in press conferences, plus the whole thing about his family moving to London, etc. — at Chelsea originates from three reports:
- Gazzetta dello Sport’s vague missive yesterday morning, without a journalist’s name attached, about a bit of “frost” in Conte’s relationship with Chelsea over not just the Costa-text affair but Chelsea’s lack of transfer market results so far.
- Sky Italia’s equally vague missive yesterday afternoon, re-reported by Gianluca Di Marzio’s website, though without his own name attached to it, which, just as above, should be taken as a sign of unreliability and not as actual report from Di Marzio himself. Even so, this report also only speaks of “cracks” in the relationship that’s no longer “so rosy” these days, again related to transfer activity. This report ends with the assurance that “diplomatic efforts” are already underway to smooth over any of these cracks.
- Duncan Castles, Mourinho operative. I wrote about his report previously here; Castles has unparalleled access to Mourinho and probably agent Jorge Mendes as well, but his reporting on Chelsea and Conte ever since Mourinho got sacked has been almost unilaterally negative and sensationalist and quite salty. (Here’s Castles setting up just such hardballing last month, for example.)
Meanwhile, Conte’s still on holiday.
Am told Conte is still on holiday and is due back at #cfc training ground around July 5-6 ahead of pre-season. Not going anywhere.— Simon Johnson (@sjstandardsport) June 16, 2017
On the other side, we have the Mirror and the Evening Standard reporting Chelsea’s stance, which is an unflinching dismissal of this nonsense.
Chelsea have laughed off suggestions Antonio Conte is at odds with the club's hierarchy and is on the verge of quitting [...] club sources have told Mirror Sport that they have no doubts he will be leading the club in 2017-18, and are currently working with him to strengthen the squad ahead of the new campaign.
Chelsea have downplayed reports that coach Antonio Conte has fallen out with the board over a lack of signings so far this summer [...] and have no doubts that he will be in charge next term.
-source: Evening Standard
Now, obviously, Chelsea would not admit to any discord at this time even if there was one, so it comes down to a viewer’s choice situation.
Do you believe these sort-of concerning reports (neither of which talk of any resignation or anything of the sort, merely “cracks” and “demands”, at worst) that have been spun into sensationalist fearmongering, or do you believe the club?
Re. Conte 'story'. Idle speculation by an Italian pundit, translated into unsourced 'fact' by the JM PR Dept. Chelsea aren't worried.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) June 16, 2017