Conte will not leave Chelsea in the summer

LONDON • Antonio Conte has distanced himself from the latest wave of speculation linking him with a return to Italy at the end of the season, most probably with Inter Milan.

He stressed his aim was to claim the Premier League title with Chelsea and then "build something important" for the future at Stamford Bridge.

There have been constant suggestions in Italy, fuelled most recently by Andrea Pastorello, brother of Conte's agent Federico, that the manager's spell in English football could prove short-lived.

Inter, under the money- flushed ownership of Suning Holdings group, are understood to be keen to test his resolve to stay in London and are prepared to offer the former Italy and Juventus manager almost complete control of transfer policy at San Siro.

Chelsea remain confident Conte will sign an extension to his contract, which runs till 2019, before the end of the season.

But Pastorello said: "If offers (for Conte) from clubs arrive, new opportunities may arise, especially at historical clubs."

Yet Conte, speaking to Italian media, expressed his frustration that the agent had been talking publicly on his behalf.

"Pastorello is a friend, I know him well, but I don't like when others speak for me," he said.

"If someone wants to know something about me, then they must ask me. We're fighting for the title and we want to achieve this goal, then we'll try to build something important together."

Asked whether that meant he will be at Chelsea next season, he added: "Yes, for the next season."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Conte will not leave Chelsea in the summer'. Print Edition | Subscribe