Antonio Conte’s job doesn’t seem to be under immediate threat despite the back-to-back humiliations suffered at the hands of AFC Bournemouth and Watford, though I suppose a similar result against West Brom on Monday could quickly change that even if there are no candidates available at the moment to replace Chelsea’s winningest head coach of all time. (That’s in win percentage, not trophies, obviously.)
While reports in Spain are pushing the Luis Enrique angle very hard, reports closer to home (and closer to Lucho himself, apparently) all agree that the earliest any such move could happen is in the summer. The former Barcelona head coach isn’t looking to get back into management before then, and his preferred pick for assistant, Juan Carlos Unzue is busy at least until then as well as head coach at Celta de Vigo. Unzue’s staff at Celta also includes three others from Luis Enrique’s trusted crew (assistant coach Robert Moreno, fitness coach Rafel Pol, and psychologist Joaquin Valdes).
That doesn’t necessarily rule out a sacking before the summer — Leonid Slutsky isn’t doing anything at the moment and he’d surely jump at the interim chance that his pal Abramovich could offer — but unless Conte royally [FUNS] up the rest of the season (out of top four, basically), he should be safe until at least the end of the season. Which is good and was the preferred choice for almost half of all fans we surveyed earlier this week.
Luis Enrique looks to be well clear of other potential candidates at the moment, but Napoli’s Maurizio Sarri could yet make waves, especially as his contract renewal talks with Napoli have apparently “stalled” at the first hurdle and thus he’s still available to buy out at just €8m. Unlike Luis Enrique, Sarri could be in high demand, with Arsenal recently floated as a possible destination.