Jorge Sampaoli has said that he was Roman Abramovich’s “first option” to manage Chelsea, but the club now want Antonio Conte.
The former Chile coach says he had talks with Roman Abramovich, but claims his lack of English meant the Stamford Bridge club have opted for the Italian Conte, who is currently learning the language.
Sampaoli told Argentine radio Vortex: “Now I can say that I was really, really close to becoming the new coach of Chelsea.
“I was about to be their new coach. I had this meeting with Chelsea’s owner and he told me that I was the first option at that moment.
“But then Conte appeared and it became a competition between us it was him or me.
“Unfortunately, Chelsea have chosen Conte over me. It¹s a real shame for me, because I was so excited about coaching a Premier League club.”
Sampaoli, who was linked with the manager’s job at Swansea earlier this year, claimed the negotiations with Chelsea were “complicated”.
“The Premier League is definitely the best league in the world and I wanted to coach there. But as I said, it didn’t happen in the end.
“I was called by Chelsea, but it won’t happen. It was complicated from the beginning.
“I would have to motivate a group of players through communication, and I still have to speak much better in English.
“I needed some time in order to improve my English. But this kind of club doesn’t give you that time,” added Sampaoli, who resigned from his role as coach of Chile in Janauary.