Antonio Conte to take over at Arsenal?

By Kevin Whitcher

Chelsea boss would be open to a move across London next summer

One interesting piece of information I have heard – which won’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone – is that this this is definitely Antonio Conte’s last season at Chelsea. It’s been well reported that the Italian is very unhappy about what went on at the club last summer.

But what is less well known is that Arsenal sounded out the then Juventus manager in 2014, when Arsene Wenger’s last but one contract was winding down. There is a belief that the manager would have called it a day if Arsenal had lost the FA Cup final to Hull, and certainly if they had failed to progess against Wigan in a semi-final that required a penalty shoot-out to progress. Fans will remember clearly Wenger’s anxious body language on the touchline that day, and the crowd’s reaction when, at 1-0 down, he subbed Lukas Podolski for Yaya Sanogo. However, Arsenal managed to claw themselves back from losing positions in both matches, giving rise to hopes that the team, with a trophy finally under their belt for the first time in nine years, could finally progress. According to Sportingbet spokesman John Green, the results of recent matches have influenced the odds of that happening.

Amidst the euphoria of the final win, Wenger signed up for three more years, and Conte took the Italian national job for two seasons, before joining Chelsea after the 2016 Euros, and landing the Premier League in his debut campaign.

Still, a channel of communication was established with Conte’s people and the Italian has expressed an interest in remaining in London after the end of the season. There has been contact with Arsenal in recent weeks and he would still be open to take on the rebuilding job to return the club to the top table.

His other (and most likely) destination is Milan to take the job at Inter. And the reason Conte is more likely to return to Italy is not that his family is based there (an arrangement that works for them, regardless of where Conte is working), but simply the unlikelihood of Arsene Wenger stepping down next summer before his contract has been fulfilled.

Still, a glimmer of hope. The club are looking to the future by sounding out candidates for what won’t be called a ‘director of football’ to spare making the manager look compromised, but in effect will be in charge of the club’s recruitment strategy, and be given more authority than Dick Law was allowed to conclude deals. So who knows? Perhaps, if Arsene Wenger failed to return the club to the Champions League, he might fall on his sword and allow the club to move on.

12th October 2017 09:59:39


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Petergooner  11:05am 12th Oct 2017

Never mind about Conte. In Arsene's press meeting this morning he stated that Wilshire is a great player and should be playing for England. He is more than a No. 10. Well at last Arsene is thinking for the future. We all state Jack should be in the team and is the future captain for many years, as he is more direct than others (i.e Ozil). Therefore Arsene put him in. I and many other fans and also Talk Sport this morning want Ozil to go. Jack is much better. Do not sell Jack, Arsene. Alexis will do his upmost to carry Gooners but Jack can help him. Ozil sell in January. - Post No. 110199

mbg  12:10pm 12th Oct 2017

Good piece, There's no doubt he's have walked after Hull but as always got lucky and came up smelling of roses, was the lucky FA Cup ( very quickly and long forgotten) worth it I wonder ? TOF would be long gone by now, have the inevitable dip (although it can't/couldn't be any worse than where we are) over us, we'd be back on track and well on our way with his grubby fingerprints removed from a lot of things, coaching, tactics, defending, philosophies, etc, etc, but no, here we are still putting up with the arrogant egoistic old weasel, with it still all ahead of us with nothing having changed whatsoever and gotton worse and regressed, so was the lucky FAC worth it ? was it f**k. wenger out. - Post No. 110200

peter wain  12:29pm 12th Oct 2017

how can jack hope to play for England when he is not picked for Arsenal? - Post No. 110201

Exeter Ex  17:28pm 12th Oct 2017

If 'the club' (whoever that is apart from Wenger) was at all interested in replacing him, why give him a new contract just a few months ago? I also don't think he'd have quit even without the FA cups in recent seasons. Remember, he has admitted he has no life outside AFC and is terrified at the thought of it. Kroenke doesn't care about cups and the support of the AKBs is unconditional so he would've spun a reason to go on and been backed in that by those parties. He's here until he's literally physically and/or mentally incapable of turning up at Colney every day, or there's a new owner. - Post No. 110202

Redshirtwhitesleeves  17:42pm 12th Oct 2017

So now we can add Conte to the list of managers and great players (that wenger bizarrely regularly trots out) that we could have had if we were a club geared up for on field success rather than bulging bank balances. In an alternative world somewhere we could have been a big, successful trophy laden club this last decade, instead of the laughing stock and Londons 3rd best team that we have farcically sunk to. Still, think of the profit and balance sheet, after all that's what's important these days isn't it - Post No. 110203

CORNISH GOONER  19:08pm 12th Oct 2017

Just not going to happen whilst Wiggy is a rancid presence at our Club. On Ozil, in a top notch, properly recruited & coached team he would be amazing. Lazy bastard? Yes - but he can see/do things that Jack the Lad can only dream of. Thanks Monsiieur Hulot! - Post No. 110204

Scruff  23:56pm 12th Oct 2017

Watching a Rocky Rocastle documentary sad sad sad tears flowing anyone indifferent to that emotion has no attachment to The Arsenal. Big Tony Adam's telling us that David was part of his crew and he loved him and protected him and how it broke his heart Now we get lazy Ozil, wally Walcott etc and people try to tell me things are better now.... Bollox - Post No. 110205

Scruff  0:07am 13th Oct 2017

Not one of the current mob will ever have the status of legend like Rocky. Just mugging off Robson and Ince and lobbing The Great Dane should be enough but watching brings back great memories. What a geezer Love you Rocky thanks - Post No. 110206

mbg  1:25am 13th Oct 2017

Redshirts, and another one (to join the long list of others) for the, but who do you replace him with brigade, haven't heard from them in a long while, I wonder where they've went to. wenger out. - Post No. 110207

Bard  7:57am 13th Oct 2017

Good call Kev. Unlikely but possible, this season is not looking good. It would make sense to ease him out at the end of the season. On another note how bonkers are his latest words on Sanchez and Oil. We turned down £65m for Sanchez in the summer but happy to sell him in Jan for £20m ? Is no one at the club questioning this sort of financial madness? - Post No. 110209

Redshirtwhitesleeves  11:50am 13th Oct 2017

Scruff- Your spot on regarding Rocky. I always have and always will have a soft spot for him. You could tell how much it meant to him to pull on that shirt and he put the likes of wally, ozil, eboue and countless other p***** that we have been fed this last decade to shame. Mbg- yes the 'be careful what you wish for' mob have been quiet of late whilst we have entered flat-track bully mode and had a favourable run of fixtures. I'm waiting for the Man City and spuds matches where normal service and humiliation shall resume - Post No. 110210

RobG  14:34pm 13th Oct 2017

Sadly, not a chance. - Post No. 110211

mbg  15:20pm 13th Oct 2017

Bard, yes indeed, where are all these AKB wengerite financial geniuses who are always raving on and spouting about their messiah getting good deals and doing good sound financial business etc, etc, haven't heard from them for a while either, I suppose they'll come crawling back the next time he buys another cheapie or makes a few quid on a second rater. wenger out. - Post No. 110212

mbg  18:59pm 13th Oct 2017

So another handy away day dander down to the gap tomorrow for the weasel and his little nice boys, yet another opportunity for TOF to look good and keep the natives quiet, (where are they all coming from ?)no hard away day fixture to complain about for the conspiracy theorists, i'd say it's the other way around and there's a conspiracy against the other teams to enable TOF and us to win the prem, I don't expect there'll be a petition against that from his luvvies. wenger out. - Post No. 110213

Alsace  19:36pm 13th Oct 2017

Just before I go to sleep, I like to watch a bit of an old film. Coming to an end of Sir Kenneth Branagh's 1995 (luvvie) classic, In the Bleak Midwinter, I chanced upon the vCR of Lord Nick Hornby's FEVER PITCH. I bunged it in the video and set off through the ads for appalling videos, until eventually the film started. It came to the scene where the young Hornby goes with his father to his first game. 1968 v Stoke City. They are in the West Upper, and it came to the point where they climbed the stairs and saw the pitch for the first time. I was struck by how much I was moved by the sight of the ground from the stands of the old stadium. I was seized by a wave of emotion. I recommend, dear reader, that you dust off your old copy of the film and watch it. That part at least made me want to eject Arsene Wenger and the whole bunch of corporate leeches from the 3rd floor of the soulless bowl. Conte would do nicely. Meester Walcott, find another club pleeze. Seenyour Ramsey, you are a waste of space. Herr Ozil, get out of my sight. - Post No. 110214

Paulward  20:32pm 13th Oct 2017

Don't see Conte at Arsenal at all, if and when he leaves the bridge he will head home or to Spain. Think Wilshere looked good first half against Borisov, but expecting him to be both Arsenal and England's saviour is stretching it a bit, and that's putting it mildly. - Post No. 110215

mbg  14:57pm 14th Oct 2017

What about TOF pissing off to inter ? wouldn't these top clubs love to have him ? how many times have we heard that from the wengerites, and how many times has the weasel himself told us how loyal he's supposedly been, there again would inter want him in the first place, and if they did what about their fans, unlike the shower we have they wouldn't put up with him and his failures, he wouldn't last a fooking season two at the most, and the weasel fooking knows it and has done for years. We want wenger out we want wenger out. - Post No. 110216

CBee  19:25pm 14th Oct 2017

Normal service resumed. - Post No. 110217

markymark  19:58pm 14th Oct 2017

Radio 5 fed a question to Wengo , “are you very angry about the penalty” his reply “of course” but no change in pitch or tone , zero feeling. He gave every impression of a guy who doesn’t care a ****, running through the motions. He must love that Radio 5 announcer giving him a get out of jail. Least these days the guys ringing in are telling it straight. - Post No. 110218

Petergooner  20:06pm 14th Oct 2017

So the ref scores for Watford. He didn’t even talk to the linesman. All reporters are saying the Watford player will get a 2 game ban for diving. Do we get 2 points therefore for him diving and changing the whole game, no we don’t. Also as always I repeat sell Ozil. A World Cup winner and he cannot beat a goalkeeper from 18 yards with almost and open goal to shoot at. Jack on, Ozil sell. - Post No. 110219

Scruff  20:19pm 14th Oct 2017

Bad bad really awfully bad! Please don't blame luck and a bad penalty decision( haven't seen it yet as was at game ) should be putting these games to bed early. Just too mad now to comment properly. - Post No. 110220

Paulward  21:23pm 14th Oct 2017

A carbon copy of our defeat at Goodison in December which started the rot last season . Not clinical enough to kill the game and undone when the home team goes physical , aided and abetted by a homer of a referee, in the second half. Feels like the whole club is just going through the motions waiting for the manager to depart, we are never going to challenge for the title again under Wenger, as even Graham Perry must realise.As for Sanchez and Ozil, it becomes clearer with each passing week that we'd be better off without them. Wenger made the wrong call on them in the summer, but then he makes a lot of wrong calls these days , the biggest of which was signing his own new contract. - Post No. 110221

Ebor Gooner  23:30pm 14th Oct 2017

No Sanchez? Why on earth wouldn't you play your best player if he's available? Once again, a Wenger led side fail to capitalise on their chances, and succumb to a team that, quite simply, want it more, and are prepared to work harder than the Arsenal players. I'm not even surprised. If it didn't happen in this game, it will happen enough times over a season for Arsenal to be unable to challenge for the title, or even a top four place. Nothing will change until this tired, stubborn, deluded Manager leaves the club. - Post No. 110222

mbg  2:17am 15th Oct 2017

I apologise there was me thinking this was another opportunity for the weasel and his banties (look it up) to look good and keep the natives quiet and the AKB wengerites thinking everything was rosey in the garden of wenger again, I should have known better as this useless old fool can, and has, f****d that up so many times too, I guess there will be a petition from the wengerites after all. Go now wenger you fooking bumbling old fool. wenger out now. - Post No. 110223

mbg  2:29am 15th Oct 2017

Scruff, to late mate, their at it already, the refs to blame, he scored for Watford you know ? what a strike a real screamer, and he never even consulted the linesman before taking it on the volley, I guess there'll be a petition after all, they just don't get it do they, pathetic. wenger out now. - Post No. 110224

Moscowgooner  7:11am 15th Oct 2017

Mbg - I wouldn't say the Hull cup final was 'very quickly and long forgotten'. If you can't recall cup finals, what's the point of following the club, any club? I still haven't forgotten the Swindon league cup final defeat! As for Kevin's hope that AW might 'fall on his sword': dream on. He will fight to the bitter end... - Post No. 110225

KC38  9:41am 15th Oct 2017

Wenger sucks your support away with these repeat performances season after season. Average, weak, niave, all seen again and again. Players without character, a midfield without pace and power centre backs that are an accident waiting to happen, players not playing because Wenger thinks we are better than we are. How much further do we slip away before either the fans revolt or the board wake up. It's madness the manager wastes the clubs money with shocking decisions (Sanchez saga) and the owner seems oblivious. No top four! less income, our disgusting owners only interest is cash it all simply makes no sense, and us fans that want a club with ambition simply lose all interest and hope. - Post No. 110226

Scruff  11:04am 15th Oct 2017

There will be lots of discussion and angry responses to that inept usual performance. Forget the dive let other sites believe the conspiracies there was nothing different about this performance as it's a regular occurrence as soon as the penalty was dispatched I knew we would capitulate. I was sat with a friend in the Watford end and all around me was the sense of great expectations and the smell of victory. Troy Deeney summed us up correctly we hold no fear get stuck into them and they will bottle it we are a laughing stock. The lies and the spin by certain people today has now gone beyond unimaginable boundaries and are laughable. Risum Teneatis Amici as my old teacher would say! - Post No. 110227

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

23rd February 2018

It Is Actually Getting Worse

Online Ed: Arsenal’s largely unmotivated players defeated at home