Antonio Conte’s Chelsea exit re-visited: transfer arguments, Abramovich fights and a £26m payoff

Antonio Conte had seemed set for a return to the Premier League, after his representatives held talks with Tottenham Hotspur over replacing Jose Mourinho.

Conte spent just two seasons in England as manager of Spurs’ London rivals Chelsea, and enjoyed a wealth of success.

His first campaign in charge saw Chelsea lift the Premier League title in style, with his 3-4-3 formation taking the division by storm.

But despite winning the FA Cup and reaching the EFL Cup final the next season, Conte was dismissed after Chelsea finished outside the top four.

His departure from the club was acrimonious to say the least, and saw him rake in an incredible amount by way of severance pay.

Mirror Football has taken a look back at Conte’s departure from Chelsea, and what it would have potentially meant for his relationship with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman.

Perhaps it’s best that talks between both parties have been broken off…

Transfer arguments

Conte is known for having disagreements with his employers over transfers, and at Chelsea it was no different.

First, the Italian manager wanted Romelu Lukaku to be signed from Everton as a point of urgency.

However, the Blues balked at meeting the Toffees’ demands, and he instead signed for Manchester United in a deal worth a reported £75million.

Conte was left fuming after the move failed, and was left scrambling around to find a replacement.

Alvaro Morata was signed for £60m, but he failed to have much of an impact and scored just 11 goals in 31 Premier League games in his debut season.

That lack of firepower up front contributed towards Chelsea falling by the wayside and finishing outside the top-four, ultimately costing Conte his job.

Abramovich fights

Antonio Conte, Roman Abramovich holding wine glasses: Antonio Conte's relationship with Roman Abramovich deteriorated towards the end of his time at the club© CHELSEA FC Antonio Conte’s relationship with Roman Abramovich deteriorated towards the end of his time at the club

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reportedly enjoyed a good relationship with Conte when things were going well, but things quickly went downhill when results took a turn for the worse.

The Blues ended the season outside the Champions League places, and a FA Cup win wasn’t enough to convince the owner to keep Conte in his role.

However, as pre-season approached, Conte was still in his role and there was no update on him being fired.

It was widely speculated that Maurizio Sarri was being lined up to replace the Italian, but there was still no official word from the club well into June.

And reports suggested at the time that the reason for Chelsea’s failure to sack Conte was because Abramovich wanted him to take another job instead of being sacked.

That’s because Conte was one of the highest-paid coaches in the world at the time, and was due an incredible amount if Chelsea fired him rather than him taking a different role.

£26million payoff

Chelsea didn’t end up sacking Conte until July, with Sarri arriving two days later and having just a month to set his side up before the Premier League campaign arrived.

Conte’s decision not to take another job meant Chelsea were backed into a corner, and Abramovich was forced to either fire the Italian or back him in another transfer market and the final year of his contract.

Such was his impressive salary, Conte was owed £9m by the club, but that didn’t account for the rest of his backroom staff, who all had to be let go of as well.

Chelsea’s financial accounts showed they paid out a whopping £26.6m to Conte and his backroom staff.

That money was compensation after Conte launched a legal battle against the club over an unfair dismissal.

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