Who is Antonio Conte? We take a look at the man tipped to become Chelsea’s next permanent manager

Antonio Conte looks set to take over at Chelsea in the summer with reports suggesting he will be announced as the next Blues boss within the next ten days.

But who exactly is the man getting ready to step into Jose Mourinho’s shoes at Stamford Bridge?

Conte is the current national team manager of Italy, a post the 46-year-old he has held since 2014, after Cesare Prandelli resigned following a disappointing World Cup.

He previously spent time managing Juventus, Siena, Atalanta, Bari and Arezzo.

As Italy manager, Conte has been successful, overseeing an unbeaten Euro 2016 qualification campaign, but his contract is due to expire after this summer’s championships.

The Italian FA is reportedly keen on trying to tie Conte down until 2018 with a new contract, but he appears to have his heart set on a move back to club football.

He earned the Italy job after a hugely impressive three years at Juventus, revitalising a team that finished seventh in Serie A and without a title since 2003.

In his time with Juve, Conte led the team to three successive titles, the first of which saw the club end the season unbeaten in the league.

But his time managing the club he played for from 1991 to 2004 was not an entirely smooth ride.

In 2012, he was banned from managing for four months for failing to report attempted match-fixing while Siena coach, and he resigned in 2014 after clashing with the Juventus hierarchy over transfer policy.

This was not his only threat at resigning either.

Less than a year into taking the Italy job, he had to be talked around from walking away due to his frustration that the national team was considered secondary to the top clubs.

His volatile nature is a mark of his game. Andrea Pirlo who played under Conte at Juve, is a testament to that.

“When Conte speaks, his words assault you,” he wrote in his autobiography.

“They crash through the doors of your mind, often quite violently and settle deep within you.”

He has received praise from a number of players he managed, with Paris Saint-Germain and Italy midfielder Marco Verratti top of the list of Conte’s admirers.

He said: “I’ve learned a lot of by spending time with him and from a tactical point of view he’s the best manager I’ve ever had.”

Conte was known for favouring a 3-5-2 formation, but he appears to have become more flexible tactically since taking the Italy job.

During Euro 2016 qualifying, his side employed a 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and even a 3-3-4 alongside his trusted 3-5-2.

Conte is a big fan of the philosophy that allows three central midfielders to run the game and is credited with turning Paul Pogba into one of the world’s most sought after midfielders.

With the 22-year-old a transfer target for Chelsea last summer, it is expected Conte’s appointment could lead to another bid to bring the Juventus midfielder to Stamford Bridge.

Feature image of Antonio Conte courtesy of Juventus, via Youtube, with thanks

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