Cole: Conte should stay as Chelsea manager & close the gap on Man City

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The Blues icon wants the Italian to stay on and feels a summer of investment is required to catch Pep Guardiola's side

Joe Cole wants to see Antonio Conte stay as Chelsea manager, but appreciates that the decision may not be so simple for the people running the club. 

Conte is widely expected to leave in the summer despite his denials when questioned over his future. Since winning the Premier League title last year, there has been friction between the Italian and the board over transfers. 

Chelsea have been linked with numerous managerial targets to replace Conte as the club prepare for the likelihood of missing out on Champions League football for next season.

Cole would welcome a situation where Conte stays and he thinks Chelsea need to invest heavily to close the gap on Manchester City, who won the Premier League title with five games to spare. 

"I would love to see him stay. I think he is very highly regarded by the players and the fans," Cole, who now plays in the US for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, told Goal.

"It has got to be a choice for the people who are a lot more informed of the situation than me.

"I trust the people, the higher-ups at Chelsea to make the right decisions for the club because the club has been serial winners for 20 years and I am sure it will carry on.

“All of the chasing pack will have to spend a lot of money this summer [after Manchester City won the title].

"Man City are a special side but I also feel like Manchester United will close the gap next year. For Chelsea, we will have to wait and see how it settles with their management structure, but obviously I would like to see Chelsea close the gap, and I am sure they will."

Cole spent seven years at Chelsea and scored 40 goals in 282 appearances, winning three Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

Now at Tampa Bay Rowdies, he was recently awarded USL Player of the Week as he aims to win the competition for the first time, with the side currently second in the standings.

Joe Cole quote

Despite the difference in time zones between the US and England, Cole still watches many Premier League games, and he thinks that last summer’s signings Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko should stay at the club to show their "unquestioned" qualities. 

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"I think that Chelsea signed a lot of players last season and the Premier League is a funny beast. Sometimes it takes players longer to settle," Cole added. "I am sure these guys are quality players. I am sure they will settle.

"We are very demanding of footballers in this day and age. These guys are from a different country [Morata and Bakayoko] and they are quality. Their abilities are unquestioned and I think they will come good, given the time."

Cole still has no plans to retire from football but he is taking his coaching badges with one eye on continuing his career in football when his playing days come to an end. 

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