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Conte fuels Chelsea exit talk by admitting to lack of planning for 2018-19

7:35 PM EST 3/3/18
Antonio Conte
The Italian insists that he is merely staying focused on the present, but his future at Stamford Bridge continues to be called into question

Antonio Conte has fuelled exit talk at Chelsea by admitting that he has not yet started planning for next season.

The Italian tasted Premier League title success in his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge, with domestic dominance restored in some style.

Conte was, however, to allow senior stars such as Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic to leave on the back of that triumph, with a summer refresh having the opposite impact to that desired by the Blues.

The 2017-18 season has been a struggle at times, leading to reports that another change in the dugout could be on the cards.

Conte has done little to curb that speculation by revealing that he is yet to enter into discussions regarding possible transfer targets and pre-season plans.

Pressed on whether such talks have been held, the 48-year-old said: “No. The club, I think, has the same ambition at the moment, to focus on the present and not to look too far.

“The present is very important for us to try to do our best.

“Then we’ll prepare for the new season. But I think now the most important thing is to be focused.”

While Conte has maintained that he intends to honour a contract due to run until 2019, he could see matters taken out of his hands.

Chelsea have adopted a revolving door policy when it comes to managers for some time and their current boss may struggle to make it past two seasons at the helm.

Speculation also continues to suggest that Conte could be soon be lured home.

Vice-commissioner to the Italian Football Federation, Alessandro Costacurta, has confirmed that a man who has already taken in one spell in charge of the Italy national side is among those in contention to fill a current vacancy with the Azzurri.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Of all the potential candidates, for me, Antonio Conte would be the best.

“I’m sure we will find a new man within a couple of months.”