The former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager has been one of the managers most heavily linked with an Old Trafford move amid growing pressure on current incumbent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Antonio Conte remains one of the most decorated free agents in football management, and it’s no surprise to see him mentioned in connection with big vacancies.
Indeed, it doesn’t always even need a vacancy, with reports linking the Italian to Manchester United if the Premier League side end up parting ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjaer is under pressure after a run of three defeats in four Premier League games, and former Inter Milan boss Conte, who won the Premier League with Chelsea, has seen his name come up in conversations about United’s future plans.
However, it has now emerged that the club are cooling on the 52-year-old amid worries about how much it would cost to bring him to Old Trafford.
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While United would not be required to pay a current employer to coax Conte away, his appointment would still set the club back a significant sum.
As first reported by the Daily Star, the manager would want a deal worth £18million per year until 2025, with more money needed to be set aside to allow him to bring in his own backroom staff.
On top of this, if United dismiss Solskjaer and his team, they would require a not-insignificant amount in compensation.
The eye-watering sum potentially required to bring Conte to Old Trafford would likely need to be supplemented by a transfer budget for January and beyond.
Also Conte’s preferred 3-5-2 formation would require new recruits, with the current squad make-up not perfectly suited to such a set-up.
The manager’s previous success rate means he has not been entirely ruled out – his title win with Chelsea in 2016-17 demonstrates what he can do in England – but the apparent change of tune could provide Solskjaer with a lifeline.
Conte has a recent history of requiring big transfer spending to achieve his targets, adding more than £100m worth of new players ahead of his first Chelsea season and breaking Inter’s transfer record to sign Romelu Lukaku in 2019.
United’s current boss is not safe in his position, with other candidates reportedly being considered if a change is made.
Solskjaer’s team have taken just one point from their last four league matches, and risk going five games without a win if they cannot get the better of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
The former Cardiff City and Molde boss faces two more difficult matches for United before the November international break, with an away game against Atalanta in the Champions League followed by a Manchester derby in the league at Old Trafford.