By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini
Antonio Conte has agreed a £21million deal to be the new Chelsea manager, Football Insider sources understand.
The Italy manager will be appointed on a three-year contract worth £7million-a-year following negotiations in London with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.
An Italian source has told Football Insider that there is an agreement in principle for Conte to start at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Conte met a delegation from Chelsea in Rome last week and he was present at the Champions League last-16 clash between Juventus and Bayern Munich on Tuesday night along with the Londoners’ technical director Michael Emenalo.
Conte, 46, emerged as the favourite to replace Blues’ interim manager Guus Hiddink, whose second spell in caretaker charge will come to an end when the season finishes.
The initial shortlist also included Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli.
However, Conte has impressed the Blues’ top brass, including owner Roman Abramovich and Emenalo, and is now set to land the job.
Conte is believed to have already told the FIGC – the Italian football federation – that he wants to return to club management after this summer’s tournament.
He is ready for a new challenge outside of Italy, having previously won three Serie A titles with Juventus as a manager and five as a player. Sources also claim the Italian is continuing to take English lessons in preparation.
Hiddink has made it clear he will leave Stamford Bridge after being drafted in for a second temporary stint in charge of the club, despite growing calls for him from the players to get the job on a permanent basis.
Jose Mourinho, who is in advanced talks to become the new manager of Manchester United at the end of the season, was sacked by Chelsea in mid December following a wretched run of results.