There have long been rumours of unrest between Conte and the Chelsea board, having clashed over transfer targets in the summer, while he has already conceded defeat in this season’s title race.
And The Daily Record now report that Conte’s future at the club hinges on their European campaign, with Ancelotti waiting in the wings should they crash out prematurely.
The Blues were surprisingly beaten to top spot in their Champions League group by Roma, and that has landed them an extremely difficult last-16 tie against Spanish leaders Barcelona.
There is already a sense at the club that Conte will not stay beyond the end of this season – having been linked with the AC Milan and Italy jobs – and he could leave even sooner if Chelsea fail to overcome the Catalans.
With an unbeaten Manchester City currently romping towards the title, it would leave Chelsea with little to play for, while Ancelotti is already back in London.
He has had his possessions moved from his home in Munich back to London and has already spoken with Abramovich about a return to the club where he won the double.
He is regarded as the No.1 candidate to replace Conte – though does not want to be considered for the position while his friend is still in the dugout – and is seen as having a less abrasive managerial style.
There is a sense that Ancelotti will be more accepting of Chelsea’s current structure and their transfer policy, while Abramovich has become convinced that he sacked the Italian prematurely last time around.
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