Chelsea have reached an agreement ‘in principle’ for Antonio Conte to take over as permanent head coach, according to reports in Italy.
Conte has long been linked with the role at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea seeking to find a permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December.
Current head coach of the Italian national team Conte, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid and former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli are among the frontrunners for the role.
But Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Conte has reached an agreement ‘in principle’ to take over when interim manager Guus Hiddink leaves the Blues in the summer.
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The report claims that Chelsea ‘seriously nod’ to Conte, whose contract with Italy expires after Euro 2016. It goes on to say that ‘real direct contact’ has been made in the past 24 hours, and a contract has been discussed.
‘There is talk of an agreement in principle already drawn up, to be made immediately enforceable when Abramovich should definitely focus on the current national coach,’ the report adds. The story is that Conte is ‘ready for an adventure’ in the Premier League, and that Chelsea will announce their new coach no later than mid-March. The 46-year-old is expected to be that man.