From celebrations on the pitch and in the dressing room to celebrations off the pitch and in the board room, Matt Law of the Telegraph brings good tidings in regards to the futures of Antonio Conte, Eden Hazard, and the summer transfer budget.
First, the head coach, who’s been an object of desire back in Serie A as Inter Milan look to return to relevance with a wealthy new investor and designs on several big signings. That’s led to incessant transfer rumors out of Italy, though not much actual chance of Conte moving back after just one year. By all accounts, his relationship with the club is about as good as any manager has ever had it under Abramovich, and his family are moving to London as well finally in the summer.
Much nonsense has been talked about Antonio Conte wanting to be elsewhere. He loves this club, this town, this project. He's going nowhere.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) May 13, 2017
As per the Telegraph, Conte is set for a massive pay rise with this summer’s new contract extension, which apparently will make him the highest paid coach in Chelsea history. Jose Mourinho was paid £10m annually the second time around; Conte’s new wage will probably be closer to the rumored £12.5m that Inter are supposedly willing to pay him. Previous rumors claimed upwards of a 70 per cent raise, which would certainly fit into that range.
Football a fickle game. And we know results can be fleeting. But Conte feels like precisely the right man for Chelsea now. Long may it last.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) May 13, 2017
As Dan Levene says, the challenge now is to build on this tremendous first season, which Conte may even make a Double in the next two weeks. We’ve been here before, with Mourinho, with Ancelotti, with Di Matteo. The curse of the Premier League-winning manager is real — none of the last five to win it (Mancini, Ferguson, Pellegrini, Mourinho, Ranieri) lasted beyond the end of the following season* — Conte and Chelsea must work together to change that trend.
Fortunately, indications are good in that regard as well. A new contract for Hazard is expected, and the Telegraph’s report confirms that as well. Hazard’s new wages of £300,000 per week would be a Chelsea record, just as Conte’s wages.
Meanwhile, as has been rumored by Law and others since the fall’s bad results (which turned our season around instead of sinking it, as many expected), the Board will back Conte heavily in market, with the latest figure on that outlay put at an eye-watering £200m. Then again, in today’s market, that barely buys you three players.
As we know all too well, things can change very quickly in football and especially at Chelsea. But right now, things are great and there’s tremendous willingness from all corners to continue making them even greater.
* ok, so we fudged the facts here a bit: Pellegrini was effectively sacked only a year and a half later while Ferguson retired