A member of Chelsea’s staff was apparently seen talking to Antonio Conte’s brother and agent, as the pair sat together during Italy’s friendly game last night.
According to the Daily Mirror, Chelsea’s player liaison officer Gary Staker was sat alongside Daniele Conte whilst his brother was on the sideline in charge of Italy as they took on Spain in Udine.
Alessandro Alciato, an Italian journalist, also tweeted about the situation, with a picture of Staker in the stands before kick-off.
Twitter: Il grande Gary Staker, team manager del Chelsea, in tribuna a Udine. Vedrà il suo nuovo allenatore @SkySport https://t.co/ps1515FcF5 (@AAlciato)
Staker, who has Italian heritage, also has a history of working with Italian managers at Chelsea. He acted as translator for Claudio Ranieri when he first joined the Blues in 2000.
And with representatives from both parties clearly getting on well, it’s almost inevitable that Conte will take over from Guus Hiddink next season.
The Italian has already confirmed he’s going to step down as Italy manager following Euro 2016, but will be hoping for a strong performance in the tournament this summer. Last night Italy were held by Spain, drawing 1-1.
The hosts took the lead through Lorenzo Insigne but just two minutes later European champions Spain had equalised.
It gets even harder for Conte next week as he takes the Azzurri to Germany for a friendly against the world champions in Munich.