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Antonio Conte – between a sabbatical and Serie A return

Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday took stock of Antonio Conte’s future after the termination of his contract at Tottenham Hotspur.

After lashing out at Spurs management and players during a press conference after a 3-3 draw at Southampton, the former Inter Milan boss sealed his fate in north London.

It still took Tottenham an extra seven days to announce his departure. But it was a long time coming, as the Italian displayed no interest in seeing out his contract at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

A few months before the expiration of his deal in England’s capital, the 53-year-old accelerated the break-up despite establishing the club as viable top-four candidates in the Premier League. 

Conte seems to have lost confidence in Spurs’ project under long-term president Daniel Levy and wanted to leave the dugout as quickly as possible. 

He did the same at Inter a couple of years ago after realising the Nerazzurri owners no longer have the capacity to splurge massive figures on reinforcements. 

He forced his Giuseppe Meazza exit less than a few months after helping Inter break an 11-year Scudetto drought, pocketing a substantial compensation fee along the way.

Conte’s nasty habit of ending his relationships with clubs has become a pattern throughout his successful yet controversial managerial career. 

He previously did the same with Chelsea and Juventus, slamming the door shut on his way out, which could deter potential suitors from hiring him in the future. 

After parting with the Blues in 2018, the former midfielder took a season-long sabbatical before assuming managerial reins at Inter the following summer. 

He may do the same again.

It’s been a tough year for Conte. He underwent surgery last month and lost a few close friends, including Sinisa Mihajlovic, Gianluca Vialli and Gian Piero Ventrone, so the idea of taking time off makes sense.

But if he decides to return to work in the summer, a potential return to Serie A seems like the most realistic option.


Conte rose to prominence during his trophy-laden three-year stint at Juventus between 2011 and 2014, leading the Bianconeri to three consecutive league titles. 

However, he burned all the bridges on his way out, torching his relationship with the club hierarchy, including long-term chief Andrea Agnelli. 

With Agnelli forced to step down amid allegations of financial manipulations, the Italian may not throw away the possibility of moving back to Turin lightly if the opportunity presents itself. 

Massimiliano Allegri is currently in charge of Juventus. However, following a 15-point deduction in January, his hopes of helping the record-time Serie A champions secure a top-four finish look like a pipe dream.

Juventus’ impressive Europa League exploits have offered them an alternate route into next season’s Champions League group stages, which may be necessary to convince Conte to return.

After three consecutive seasons without a league title, they could turn back to their prodigal son in the summer, especially if Allegri’s men collapse down the final stretch.

Inter Milan

Underperforming Inter manager Simone Inzaghi has come under heavy scrutiny after his side experienced a thoroughly abysmal domestic season. 

Securing another top-four finish is still a doubt as they hold a fragile three-point lead over fifth-placed Roma going into the crunch period of the season. 

Lifting the Champions League title against the odds could be the only saving grace for Inzaghi, though it seems far-fetched. 

Given Inter’s underwhelming form in 2023, it’s debatable whether they have what it takes to overcome Primeira Liga high-flyers Benfica in the quarter-finals.

Inzaghi’s deal at Meazza runs out in 2024, but there’s a feeling he won’t last that long, with the Nerazzurri contemplating his sacking already this summer.

While Conte could be an ideal replacement, considering his previous exploits in Lombardia, the manner in which he exited the club two years ago is unlikely to back his case.


Despite guiding Roma to Europa Conference League glory in his first season at the club, Jose Mourinho may not stay at the Stadio Olimpico for long. 

The Special One has turned the Giallorossi into credible top-four contenders in Serie A this term, yet a lack of financial support has made him second-guess his long-term future in Rome. 

While the Roma hierarchy remains hopeful of having Mourinho on board next season, regardless of their top-four pursuit in 2022/23, much will depend on the club’s transfer activity in the summer. 

The Portuguese manager has already instructed his superiors to prepare a fat chequebook for the summer to address his squad’s shortcomings, hoping to launch a Scudetto bid next term. 

Although the ball is now in Dan Friedkin’s court, it’s hard to remember the last time Roma committed to a spending spree, derailing Mourinho’s chances of assembling a high-profile squad.

But the lack of financial muscle could be a sticking point should the Giallorossi decide to pursue Conte in the summer, knowing the Italian’s penchant for expensive transfers.

AC Milan

After leaving his mark at Juventus and Inter, maybe it’s time for Conte to complete a domestic hat-trick. 

Only a year after leading AC Milan to a long-awaited Scudetto, head coach Stefano Pioli could be on the verge of leaving San Siro amid a disastrous defending campaign.

Not only have the Rossoneri fallen out of the Serie A title pace in January, but the risk of missing out on a third straight top-four finish is greater than ever. 

Despite helping the club reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in over a decade, Pioli has fallen out of grace, with Milan fans rushing to social media to demand his head.

Conte could be their go-to option should Pioli’s career at San Siro come to a halt in the summer, even though they would likely have to break the bank to afford his wages.

At first glance, Milan may not be the best option for the Italian, but a lack of top-notch opportunities in foreign lands should work in the Rossoneri’s favour. 

Bayern Munich have already replaced Julian Nagelsmann, while other continental heavyweights like Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have never shown genuine interest in acquiring his services. 

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