Antonio Conte to sue Chelsea after exit delayed

Antonio Conte is taking legal action against Chelsea, including the claim that he deserves to be compensated for loss of future earnings and the damage to his career caused by the club’s delay in sacking him.

The Italian is angry that Chelsea did not confirm his dismissal until last week — 55 days after he led them to victory in the FA Cup final — a delay that his lawyers will argue cost him the opportunity to gain employment elsewhere this summer.

Conte is demanding compensation on top of the £9 million salary that he is entitled to receive for the final year of his contract.

He had been resigned to leaving Chelsea since January as a result of the collapse in his relationship with the board at Stamford Bridge because of disagreements over transfer policy, but Conte is unhappy with the way his departure was managed.

After not hearing from the club for several weeks at the end of last season, the 48-year-old was summoned back to London a fortnight ago to begin pre-season training, taking charge of the players for four days before being sacked in a brief meeting with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck last Thursday.

The club waited 24 hours before confirming Conte’s departure last Friday and appointed his successor Maurizio Sarri the following day.

Conte released a statement through the League Managers Association this week, in which he thanked all his “friends” at Chelsea for their support and wished them success in the future, a move which often signifies that severance terms have been agreed between a club and their outgoing manager, but that is not the case in this instance. The former Italy coach remains furious at the way he has been treated and while he used his statement to thank Chelsea’s “players and staff” there was no mention of the board nor of Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner.

Conte’s legal team will argue that Chelsea have cost their client a year of his career, as all the top management jobs in Europe have been filled. Real Madrid are understood to have sounded out Conte after Zinédine Zidane left in May, while the Italy job was also available earlier in the summer. He did not pursue either option, though, and will claim he was committed to Chelsea.

For their part, Chelsea have threatened to withhold the final year of his contract due to alleged irregular conduct and repeated criticism of his employers during his second season at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri is close to signing Daniele Rugani from Juventus. Chelsea have been told by the Italian club to increase their offer for the central defender to about £40 million. His arrival would make it more likely that Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Matt Miazga will leave. AC Milan have expressed an interest in the Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata, and could offer Gianluigi Donnarumma, their 19-year-old goalkeeper, as part of a deal.

Source :- The Times

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