Italian football journalist James Horncastle believes that it is not Chelsea versus Barcelona which is the Champions League tie that will decide Antonio Conte as the Blues’ manager.
Speaking to OTB:AM, Horncastle says that the outcome of Real Madrid against Paris St Germain could dictate whether one of the European powers will shortly be in need of a new coach. Zinedine Zidane and Unai Emery respectively are under pressure to deliver silverware to impatient owners and fans.
“I think what’s really interesting is Real Madrid and PSG. The outcome of that could have as much of a bearing on Conte’s medium-term future as Chelsea-Barcelona.”
However, James believes that the most likely solution for both Chelsea and Conte is for another club to approach the Blues at the end of the season.
“From Chelsea’s point of view, sacking him means paying him a lot of money. Right now, if there anyone better on the market to bring in now? I don’t think there is. I think the endgame that is foreseeable is that they go to the end of the season, and Conte gets a big offer, he walks away, Chelsea don’t have to pay compensation and everybody’s happy from it.
James believes that options that were previously open to Conte – such as AC Milan and taking up his previous role as Italy manager – are not attractive choices to the Chelsea coach.
The interview also includes a match preview of Juventus against Tottenham, and you can subscribe to Off the Ball’s YouTube channel here.