Antonio Conte put an end to wild speculation that he may leave the club as he put pen to paper on a new two year contract at Chelsea, the club confirmed. The Italian will now earn an impressive £180,000 per week, according to The Times.
After missing out on several key transfer targets in the opening weeks of the transfer window, it marks a real statement for the club. With Conte now committed, it is likely to reassure targets and also shows that Conte will not walk out with frustration as some had previously claimed could be possible.
Conte was the architect of last season’s hugely successful campaign, building a formation which capitalised on what his squad had to offer. His management of the squad and his astute tactical knowledge were crucial. In winning the Premier League after a disastrous season under Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink in 2015/16, the Italian immediately established himself as one of the best coaches in the division.
This summer, Roman Abramovich appears to have struggled to reward that success, though. Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko are the only key signings to date, with a new striker desperately needed. If Conte is to replicate last season’s success, he may need more additions.
Whilst Chelsea may not yet have the targets they are seeking, Abramovich can be confident that, in Conte, he has a manager who can get the best out of whoever is available to him. The Italian may want more players, and he will likely get them. Nonetheless, he will get by with what he has, if not.
What is clear is that Chelsea are looking to produce a long-term plan. Too often criticised for their short term planning, with few managers lasting more than a few seasons at Stamford Bridge, this commitment represents the Blues trying to create a new structure at the club.
However, it is important to remember that Conte has not actually extended his deal. Whilst he has agreed a new contract which will signal his commitment to the club, he has not extended it beyond 2019. With his previous deal also set to expire in 2019. Conte is clearly happy to stay, but he is not yet convinced of a long term future in west London.
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