Chelsea closing in on appointing their next manager

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Conte set to be named as Chelsea boss
Conte set to be named as Chelsea boss

Italy national team boss Antonio Conte is expected be confirmed as the next Chelsea manager after staging positive talks with the Stamford Bridge club.

Conte has been heavily linked with a move to take over at Chelsea in recent days and it appears a deal is close to being agreed for the former Juventus boss to take over as Blues boss next summer.

Sky Italia reported earlier on Thursday that Conte was on the brink of signing a three-year deal to become Chelsea boss, with Blues officials refusing to deny the stories.

With interim boss Guus Hiddink committed to stepping down as Chelsea manager at the end of this season, the club appeared to have limited options as they looked for a permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December.

Yet Conte looks set to be the candidate to fill the Stamford Bridge hot-seat, with the former Juventus boss keen to return to club management after his spell in charge of Italy.

A Champions League winner as a player, Conte won three Serie A titles as Juve manager before accepting the role as Italy boss in 2014.

His Azzurri side will be the Republic of Ireland's final Group E opponents at this summer's Euro 2016 finals, with Conte's team among the favourites to progress to the latter stages of the competition.