Will Antonio Conte be at Chelsea next season?

Chelsea are having a disappointing season, and manager Antonio Conte has understandably come under pressure. After all, the Blues have a strong squad with world-class players such as Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Alvaro Morata. True, Manchester City are head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the Premier League this season, but Chelsea do have a team capable enough of finishing in the Champions League places.

As things stand now, Chelsea are in real danger of not ending up in the top four of the Premier League. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur all are in better form than the London club at the moment, and Arsenal are not entirely out of the running for the Champions League places yet. Chelsea’s performances and results this season have not been very consistent, and the Blues are running out of games and time. According to latest football betting odds on bet365, Chelsea are 4/7 not to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

Conte is a very good manager - one of the best in the world, in fact - but things have not gone for him this season. Morata has gone off the boil and is struggling to complete 90 minutes in the Premier League, the fallout with Diego Costa - now at Spanish club Atletico Madrid - still sits bitter with some Chelsea fans, and there have been some referring decisions that have gone against him. Recent shock defeats to Watford and Bournemouth have further added to suggestions that Conte has lost his voice in the Chelsea dressing room.

Conte guided Chelsea to the Premier League title last season, and there is still a chance that the former Juventus head coach could lead the Blues to the quarterfinals of the Champions League this term. However, it is hard to see the 48-year-old remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season, especially given the barbed comments he has made about the club’s hierarchy over the course of the 2017-18 campaign, one which included urging the club to show him a public vote of confidence amid speculation over his future. Reports linking Carlo Ancelotti, Diego Simeone and Massimiliano Allegri are only going to gather pace in the coming weeks. Ancelotti knows Chelsea inside out and was successful during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, and the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss is available at the moment and probably will be in the summer of 2018 as well.

Conte arrived at Chelsea at a time when things were looking bleak for the London club. There is no doubt that the Italy national football team head coach has been important in the club turning around their fortunes since the disastrous season of 2015-16, but it is time for him and Chelsea to part company. There is no point in the London club dismissing Conte now with just a few weeks of the season remaining, but the summer of 2018 should be a period of change for the former Champions League winner.

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