Chelsea have been tipped to sensationally re-hire former manager Carlo Ancelotti when Antonio Conte leaves the club before the end of his current contract, a scenario that is seen as increasingly likely given his frustrations and growing nostalgia for Italy.
Even before winning the Premier League title in his first season, Conte was apparently frustrated by Chelsea’s recruitment policy last summer. That seemingly only worsened this year when his concerns about squad depth in light of a return to the Champions League were not allayed.
Conte signed a new contract in summer, but tellingly it only ensured he would have a pay rise and did not actually extend the original three-year deal he agreed upon taking over.
According to The Sun, Chelsea are already planning for the event that former Juventus boss walks at some point before his contract’s expiration in June 2019 – it is clearly stated the Stamford Bridge ‘do not expect’ him to last that long in the hotseat.
Therefore attention has turned to who can succeed him, and the gossip is Ancelotti.
It has long been thought that Ancelotti, sacked by Bayern Munich just weeks into his second season in Germany, has been interested in a second stint in the Premier League. He was of course Chelsea manager for two years from 2009 and has been ambitiously linked with Everton.
The Sun notes that the three-time Champions League (also twice a European Cup winner as a player), bears no grudge towards owner Roman Abramovich after his harsh dismissal in 2011 and that he has even kept in contact with Chelsea officials in the years since.
Given that Abramovich was able to patch up differences and re-hire Jose Mourinho in 2013, six years after the Portuguese coach left under a cloud, it is certainly not inconceivable to think that Ancelotti couldn’t become Chelsea manager for a second time. But it will hinge on Conte.