Apparently, still no one has sent a text to Antonio Conte to thank him for the two “seasonos” and send him (and his excellent staff) on their merry way to a paid, one-year sabbatical. And so, Conte might just show up at Chelsea’s training ground at Cobham this weekend, with preseason plans in hand, and that could get all sorts of interesting.
Chelsea appear to remain adamant about replacing the serial-winner with Maurizio Sarri, but neither the Sarri deal nor the Conte sacking appears to be making any real progress. The former is supposed to finish (for about the twentieth time) in the next 24-36 hours. The latter? The drama may just be starting.
According to an exclusive report form Matt Hughes of The Times, Conte has sent an email to the players reminding them that those who were not in the World Cup should be returning to Cobham on Monday, July 9 for the start of preseason training, and that he’s still the boss. Conte didn’t do this unprompted: he was apparently responding to some random “member of Chelsea’s technical staff” requesting these players to return over the weekend already. Why Conte was copied on that email, or how he got wind of it, is unclear. Those Outlook distribution lists always get you in trouble!
The Times report that Conte “has spent the last few weeks [...] planning a tough pre-season campaign for the players” and “plans to hold his first training session next Monday”, which corroborates a similar report from the Telegraph from a couple weeks ago. That Chelsea are no closer to resolving the situation now as we were then, is just another indication of the fascinatingly shambolic situation happening in SW6.
The Telegraph’s report had warned of a potential “civil war” if Conte is not sacked soon. Grab that popcorn; this could be a true summer blockbuster.