Antonio Conte has named the two clubs he is interested in managing next, but has ruled out taking over in circumstances similar to what unfolded at Tottenham Hotspur.
Conte is on the lookout for his next managerial role after parting company with Tottenham in turbulent circumstances back in March. He initially took the Spurs job in November 2021 to replace Nuno Espirito Santo, after initially resisting a Premier League approach when Spurs had tried that summer.
A return to Serie A seems most likely for Conte as his next step and the Italian tactician has now named Roma and Napoli as the two clubs he has an eye on.
“Those are two clubs that I’d like to try for the passion fans have,” he said on a Rai TV interview that will air in full on Tuesday.
“I hope one day I’ll have a chance to live this experience.
“I don’t take jobs during the season because there are situations that have been created before I arrived.”
That last comment implies he went against his instincts when accepting the Tottenham job, since he replaced Nuno 17 games into the season.
It therefore seems probable that Conte will be back in a dugout next season, by which time he will be 55 years old.
Roma are currently managed by Jose Mourinho, one of Conte’s predecessors at Tottenham (as well as Chelsea and Inter before). However, Mourinho’s contract in the capital expires at the end of this season and Sky Sport Italia has recently confirmed he is expected to leave at that point.
Napoli, meanwhile, appointed Rudi Garcia as their new coach to succeed Luciano Spalletti after winning Serie A last season. Garcia – notably the man who was in charge of Al-Nassr when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo – has been coming under some early pressure, though, which led to claims of contact between Conte and president Aurelio De Laurentiis this month.
As for players he has worked with before in either squad, Roma currently have Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea and Conte’s ex-Italy pupil Stephan El Shaarawy, while Napoli have his former Inter winger Matteo Politano.
The last time Conte worked in Serie A, he won the Scudetto with Inter at the end of the 2020-21 campaign. He has also previously topped the rankings with Juventus on three consecutive occasions between 2011 and 2014.
As a player, he previously won five Serie A medals, also with Juventus.
Pros and cons of Conte
Things turned sour for him at Tottenham despite him guiding the club to Champions League qualification in his debut season. Previously, he fared better at Chelsea, winning the 2016-17 Premier League and 2017-18 FA Cup, but even his time there ended in disarray.
And that is what any club looking to appoint Conte must be mindful of. He has the track record of a winner, but few of the clubs he has managed – or indeed, even the Italian national team – have actually been left in a better place for whoever has succeeded him.
Tottenham are doing well this season, but that is to the credit of Ange Postecoglou, not because of any seeds planted by Conte before he left seven months ago.
Nevertheless, Conte’s collection of medals does speak for itself, so he deserves respect and still has plenty of years ahead of him in management if he feels up to it.