Chelsea part ways with Conte

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte gestures on the touch line during their English Premier League match against Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge in London

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, pictured with the FA Cup trophy in May, appears to have been sacked.

The 48-year-old Italian, who returned to pre-season training this week, had one year remaining on his contract.

And former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri is expected to be appointed as Conte's successor over the weekend.

Chelsea began a terse, four-sentence statement on its website, "Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company".

However, his second season in charge ended with a limp title defence as his side finished fifth in the Premier League, crucially missing out on Champions League qualification.

The sacking brings to an end a fractious two-year relationship between Chelsea and Conte.

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The former Juventus coach won the Premier League title in his first season, but that initial success was soured by an off-the-field power struggle over the club's transfer policy. Despite this, they managed to pick up some silverware by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final in May, though Conte had been anticipating the sack this summer.

"If Chelsea are paying him even more, I can understand that too".

Sarri's got a buyout clause at Napoli rumoured to be in the region of €8 million while Conte will get a hefty severance package as well so the "switch" won't come cheap for the West Londoners.

If Conte had quit and taken another job, it would have eased the cost of Chelsea's latest managerial change.

Conte wants full payment of compensation for himself and all his staff. Chelsea don't feel like they have to pay him off and are ready to go through legal channels, which is a route that both parties are happy to take.

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