Antonio Conte cost Chelsea “more than £26m” in compensation after his “acrimonious” exit from the club, according to reports.
The Italian left Stamford Bridge after two seasons in charge. He led the Blues to the Premier League title in his debut season.
He could only guide Chelsea to a fifth-place finish in 2017/18, winning the FA Cup, which was not enough to save him from being sacked.
His sacking followed a difficult second season in west London, and was confirmed in an abrupt, 61-word statement a few days after he returned for pre-season training.
Conte returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time on Wednesday evening as his Spurs side take on the European champions in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
Ahead of the match, the Daily Mail have revealed details of the 52-year-old’s “acrimonious” exit, confirming that Conte won two lawsuits against the Blues.
"Winning at Chelsea is an expectation. For Tottenham, it is a hope."
– Antonio Conte in 2018 pic.twitter.com/rBXVxdzgnG
— Casumo Sports (@CasumoSports) January 5, 2022
The report says: “Chelsea’s accounts in January 2020 showed they had paid out a huge £26.6m to Conte, his staff and in legal fees associated with his dismissal, making it the most expensive sacking in football history.”
Furthermore, The Athletic claim: “Chelsea claimed that Conte’s conduct over his second season, from his involvement in Diego Costa’s departure to his constant complaints about a lack of backing in the transfer market, effectively put him in breach of contract.”
The timing of his “open secret” dismissal was disputed by Conte’s legal team as it “undermined his chances of securing another job before the new campaign.”
Conte’s lack of backing in the transfer market was highly influential in the Italian’s shaky relationship with the London club’s board.
He was reportedly keen on signing Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk – who both joined Chelsea’s title rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
As well as Lukaku and van Dijk, Conte wanted to bring in Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, who also joined Man Utd and the Reds.
After his first season in charge, the Blues ended up signing Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater and Alvaro Morata for a club-record fee.
As for Diego Costa, Conte reportedly text the Spain striker to let him know he would play no part in their Premier League title defence in 2017/18. Costa later accused Chelsea and Conte of treating him like a “criminal”.
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