Chelsea manager Antonio Conte appears to be the first choice of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) when it comes to finding a new Azzurri head coach to replace Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked in the wake of the country’s shock failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio has hinted that, in an ideal world, Conte is number one, with a number of other high profile names also in on the radar.
“[Massimiliano] Allegri, [Roberto] Mancini, [Carlo] Ancelotti… I say getting warmer. And Conte? Fire,” Tavecchio told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Former Juventus coach Conte was previously the national team’s boss for two years between 2014 and 2016, before returning to club football with Chelsea.
His tactics saw Italy emerge as one of the early favourites to win Euro 2016 after fine displays in the group stage and a Last 16 masterclass against Spain. It was only a penalty shootout exit in the quarter finals that brought the dream to an end.
Italy’s interest in Conte comes after months of speculation over his Chelsea future. The 48-year-old remains under contract until 2019, but has spoken of nostalgia for his homeland in recent weeks and has endured a difficult relationship with the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.
Ventura was given the boot after Italy lost a two-legged against Sweden earlier this month, meaning the Azzurri will be missing from a World Cup for the first time since 1958, 60 long years, when the 2018 competition kicks off in Russia next summer.