Antonio Conte returns to take Chelsea training

Antonio Conte returns to take Chelsea training

This would unlock Chelsea's own drawn-out negotiations with the Italians to land Sarri, who has been relieved of his duties at Napoli and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, but is still under contract with Aurelio De Laurentiis demanding hefty compensation.

The Italian has widely been expected to be given the boot this summer after the 2016/17 Premier League champions endured a torrid defence of their title, finishing fifth.

Mateo Kovacic, now starring for Croatia in the World Cup and coming off a Champions League win at club level with Real Madrid is said to be an alternative for Manchester City should they miss out, as they look to replace the departed Yaya Toure and ageing Fernandinho in the centre of their midfield.

There was hope at Chelsea that Kenedy could establish himself as an alternative to Marcos Alonso at left wing-back but he did not earn Conte's trust, making only five appearances across the Carabao Cup and FA Cup between August and January.

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There have been plenty of reports that have linked Conte being sacked from Chelsea this summer with a number of different managers set to take up the potential job if a vacancy arises.

Conte spent the majority of the season whinging about one thing or another, whether it be a lack of backing in the transfer market, or fatigue within his squad, nobody had expected the former Italy boss to be in charge for much beyond the end of last season.

City's first pre-season friendly sees them take on Borussia Dortmund on July 21.

Napoli have confirmed Sarri will leave the club, however, he is still officially under contract.

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