Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has reportedly emerged as a shock target for La Liga giants Real Madrid, with sources in Spain claiming that Los Blancos could be looking to replace Zinedine Zidane at the end of the season.
The Italian, who impressed immensely during his spell as Italy manager, led the Blues to the Premier League title last season, exerting his dominance over the division despite getting off to a rather rocky start.
Conte's three-defender system has revolutionized English football and his tactics are now being copied by other managers. But it appears that the title is already out of reach this time around, given Manchester City's remarkable streak. And if reports are to be believed, the manager could be heading for the exit soon.
The relationship between Conte and the Chelsea board is said to be strained at the moment. And the former Juventus boss has been left feeling short-changed due to the club refusing to sanction moves for his summer targets. The 48-year-old is believed to be frustrated over the club's lack of ambition in the transfer market, while figures at the top feel like he has underachieved this season, albeit having left him with little to work with.Real, meanwhile, won the World Club Cup on Saturday, defeating Gremio 1-0 in the Abu Dhabi final. Their league form this season, though, leaves a lot to be desired.
Zidane led the Spanish side to back-to-back Champions League triumphs, yet The Sun are reporting that the holders could let him leave in the summer, as his contract will have ran its course by then.
Club president Florentino Perez is said to have several targets in mind, and the Chelsea boss is high on his list. Conte insists he is committed to the Londoners, and has done well to keep the Blues competitive and in the top four. But rumors of a departure continue to swirl.
Of course this could all be conjecture, but there is definitely a bit of dissatisfaction on Conte's part, and he has continuously moaned about his lack of squad depth to the press. There remains the possibility of reinforcements joining the Blues in the upcoming January window, however, yet it all remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, other reports claim that Carlo Ancelotti, who has managed Chelsea before, will be the one to come in if his countryman does leave.