Chelsea Football Club have reached an agreement with manager Antonio Conte to keep their manager at Stamford Bridge at least until June 2020, Italian source Tutto Mercato Web reports. Conte had initially signed a three-year contract last summer, but Roman Abramovich has already seen fit to give him an extension. The Russian owner is obviously very impressed by what he has seen from the Italian so far.
Chelsea are currently top of the Premier League table, with an 8-point lead over second-placed Manchester City with 13 games left to play. Barring a cataclysmic collapse, Conte should win the league in his first season in charge. Both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti managed that feat at Stamford Bridge, but neither was able to really stay at the club for the long haul.
If Conte is able to stay until the summer of 2020. he will be the longest-serving manager under the Abramovich era which began in 2003. Since then, Mourinho’s first stint from 2004-2007 is the longest Chelsea have stuck with a manager.
Conte came to West London with a great reputation and resume, but it wasn’t a given that he would succeed. The intense competition on a weekly basis was very different from what he saw during his time at Juventus, where he won the Serie A in each of his three seasons in charge. Initially, it looked like it would take some time before he adapted to life in England. Chelsea were placed 8th in the table at the end of September.
Conte though, has shown some real positives in his first season to turn things around. He switched his tactics to employ a 3-man defence starting October, which triggered a 13-man winning streak for the Blues. He has also conducted himself with great dignity and humility in interviews and press conferences, and kept the limelight firmly away from off-the-pitch issues. If Chelsea do go on to win the league, it will be very interesting to see how he spends the money given to him in the summer to improve the current squad.