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Antonio Conte comments on his links with Chelsea

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Conte tipped to take over at Chelsea
Conte tipped to take over at Chelsea

Italy coach Antonio Conte has given a big hint that he could manage in the Premier League "sooner rather that later", but he refused to confirm he has agreed to take over as Chelsea boss.

Conte will step down as Italy coach after Euro 2016, with his Azzurri side due to take on the Republic of Ireland in their final Group E game in Lille on June 22nd.

It is widely expected that Conte will be confirmed as the next Chelsea manager by then, with the 46-year-old hinting a deal is close for him to move into club management as he spoke to the media on Monday.

“The word Chelsea is not a taboo, but I could pronounce the names of Italian clubs too,” he stated, suggesting he could take up a job in Italy’s Serie A.

“I think that even the national team of England are very strong given the qualification they had. They won every match in the qualifiers. English football is very coveted by players and managers.

“It’s a championship that is very interesting from every point of view. I think, that today the English and Spanish are very interesting championships from every point of view.

“It’s always very competitive and interesting. Till now I’ve always managed in Italy I’ve never hidden my will in the future to work in other countries.

“If that happens soon or not I don’t know but it will certainly happen sooner or later.”

Conte insisted he had made the right call to confirm he would step down as Italy boss after Euro 2016 and insisted his announcement will not affect his team’s hopes in France this summer.

“I thought it was right and proper to clarify my position before the Euro,” he added.

“The moment I was certain 100 per cent of what I felt inside I communicated it to the president of the Italian Federation. He’s the person who wanted me here. He chose me and so I communicated my decision. It was very serene and we spoke a bit and I said I would be leaving.”