Chelsea ‘preparing for Antonio Conte exit’ and targeting Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone – Reports

Chelsea are preparing for the exit of manager Antonio Conte and are eyeing Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone to replace him, according to reports.

Conte has been a big hit since joining the Blues in 2016 – winning the Premier League title in his first season in charge.

But there have been undertones of frustration throughout his tenure in London and, according to a report in The Times, the Italian could be set to leave the club at the end of the current campaign.

The Italian was not happy with the club’s transfer business in the last summer transfer window, feeling that he was not given enough cash to strengthen his squad for their title defence.

Manchester City’s form this term has proven he had a point – Pep Guardiola’s side currently sit 15 points clear at the league summit, 16 points above Chelsea who sit in third.

It is claimed Chelsea have no plans to sack Conte and that they hoping for a change of heart from their manager, but Conte’s frustrations with the club are such that it is widely expected that he will leave.

Conte penned a new contract at Stamford Bridge last summer after their title success, but it only increased his wage and did not extend the length of his deal.

He has just one year left on his current contract, so Chelsea have already begun to look for the Italian’s successor, and it is reported they want Simeone to take over at the Bridge.

Simeone was a contender for the job when Conte was appointed in 2016, but he apparently would not consider leaving Atletico at that time as they prepared to move into their new stadium.

The 47-year-old Argentine has spent a successful seven years in charge at Atletico – winning LaLiga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup titles, as well as twice finishing runners-up in the Champions League – and has two years left on his current deal with the club.

He is at the top of Chelsea’s shortlists of managerial targets, with Maurizio Sarri, boss of current Serie A leaders Napoli, and Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri also reportedly contenders, should Conte leave.

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