My Chelsea future is in the club’s hands, says Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte says it is up to Chelsea whether he stays at the club or not.

The Italian won the Premier League title last term, in his first season as head coach with the Blues, who play Leicester on Saturday.

Conte signed an improved contract last summer, but it was not an extension to his deal which still expires in June 2019, and there has been continual speculation over his position.

The former Juventus and Italy boss says that goes with the territory of working at Chelsea and does not happen at other clubs.

He said: “I have another year of (my) contract with this club. But as you know very well everything is possible. In one moment you stay here, in another moment another person replaces you in your job.”

Asked if he would extend his contract with Chelsea, Conte added: “In this case, I think the club has to decide to send me away.”

Conte’s position has been the subject of speculation regarding a rumoured frustration over transfers.

He added: “For the manager of this club it’s normal to have this type of situation, also if you won last season the league and you reached the final in the FA Cup. This is the history of this club for the manager.

“I have a lot of experience to deal with this type of situation. (But) there is something strange if, after the first game we lost against Burnley, the press pushed quickly to sack me for another coach. I think in other clubs this doesn’t happen.”

Conte insisted he is happy at Chelsea, will continue to work as a professional and will “never give up”.

One player who appears to be on the move is Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, who is out of contract at the end of the season. The Chile forward has been linked with a January move, with Manchester United rumoured to have joined Manchester City in the race to recruit him.

Conte was spotted speaking to Sanchez in the tunnel at Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg with the Gunners on Wednesday night.

Conte said: “I said ‘hello’. He’s a great player and he knows very well in my first season in Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese. Then he decided to go to Barcelona.

“He knows very well my admiration for him. It was a good chance to say ‘hello’ to him.”

Asked if more could be read into their conversation, Conte added: “No, not other situation or other conversation. For sure I have great admiration for great players. I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players and I stop.”

Conte was asked whether Chelsea should join the race for Sanchez, but the Blues boss appears to expect City to pounce in a cut-price deal.

“If Manchester City wants Alexis Sanchez, they buy Alexis Sanchez. They don’t have problem about money,” Conte added.

“We are talking about a top player in a moment when you can buy him with a price not so high.”

Conte was unable to provide an update on Eden Hazard’s contract, amid suggestions a new deal for the Belgium playmaker is close, saying it was a club matter.

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