Conte to agree on new deal after high-level talks

LONDON • Antonio Conte has promised to sign a new contract when he returns to take charge of pre-season training at Chelsea next month.

The manager has held talks with owner Roman Abramovich's two most senior lieutenants, the director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo, and reassured them that he wants to extend his contract despite being frustrated at certain aspects of the club's operations.

Conte has clashed with his employers over his handling of striker Diego Costa, who was told that he was not wanted by the manager in a text message, and the club's slow start to potential transfer deals. But these issues are not thought to be serious enough to put his future in doubt.

The Italian expressed similar reservations about a lack of transfer activity last summer when only four first-team players were signed, but was still able to guide Chelsea to the English Premier League title.

He believes that his achievement deserves to be rewarded by more signings and has been liaising with Granovskaia and Emenalo from his holiday in southern Italy.

During those conversations the 47-year-old has emphasised the need for a larger squad to cope with the demands of the Champions League, and also made it clear that he intends to target the competition that he has yet to win as a manager.

  • Transfer talk

  • GUNNERS IN FOR TURAN

    Arsenal have reportedly made a €30 million (S$46 million) bid for Barcelona's Arda Turan, with the Catalan giants telling the 30-year-old Turkey international to consider the move.

    The midfielder, who has three years left on his Camp Nou contract, has also attracted interested from Italian Serie A side Inter Milan, reported Spanish daily Marca.

    Turan made just 18 LaLiga appearances last season and is seeking more regular first-team football.

    ALVES HAS HEART SET ON CITY MOVE

    Dani Alves has told Juventus he wants to leave amid interest from Manchester City. The 34-year-old right-back is keen to link up with manager Pep Guardiola, who helped him win three LaLiga titles and two Champions Leagues during their four years together at Barcelona.

    Alves' agent had a meeting with Serie A champions Juventus on Monday and made the club aware of his client's desire to move on.

    City, who believe a bid of around £5 million (S$8.7 million) may be sufficient to secure a transfer, are also interested in signing Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

    THE GUARDIAN

    MAGPIES SWOOP FOR ABOUBAKAR

    Newcastle have reportedly won the race to sign Porto striker Vincent Aboubakar for £9 million (S$15.8 million).

    According to The Star, Newcastle has seen off competition from French Ligue 1 side Rennes for the 25-year-old Cameroon international, and are also working on an £8.7 million deal for Eibar's French defender Florian Lejeune as they prepare to return to the Premier League.

Chelsea have agreed to sign Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero on a free transfer which will be announced on July 1, while they are hopeful of signing Tiemoue Bakayoko for a fee in excess of £40 million (S$70.2 million).

The 22-year-old France international was at the heart of Monaco's Ligue One title-winning midfield.

The powerful, defensive-minded player scored three goals and provided one assist in all competitions as the French side progressed to the Champions League semi-finals.

Chelsea also are willing to grant Conte's request to appoint a coach to replace Steve Holland, the England assistant manager, having previously insisted that they would not do so.

Conte's contract expires in 2019 and he is expected to sign a two-year extension with a 50 per cent pay rise that will take his salary to £9 million.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Conte to agree on new deal after high-level talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe