Antonio Conte is on the brink of winning the Premier League title and will leverage his achievements to get a new improved contract out of Chelsea this summer.
Conte knows that Internazionale want to tempt him back to Italy this summer with a substantial pay rise, news that has been raging in Italy all week. When asked about Inter at his press conference on Thursday, Conte did not explicitly rule it out, just reiterated that his focus is on the present, and the fact that he has two years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea do have pressing matters this week, with a game at West Bromwich Albion on Friday night that could confirm their title. If they win they will get an unassailable lead over Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table.
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But if Conte wins the league, and especially if he wins the double, then he will have earned an improvement on the £6.5million salary he agreed in the three-year deal he signed in 2016. He spelled out at his press conference that while he does not need the money, improved contracts are how clubs make players and coaches feel valued.
“Money is not important,” said Conte, “but money is important to understand the real value of a person.”
Conte has been playing and coaching at the top end of the professional game for more than 25 years so he is financially comfortable. But he explained that salaries convey value to individuals. Conte, like anyone, wants to feel valued, and he would certainly like Chelsea to make him feel more valued this summer. It has not escaped Conte’s attention that Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger, all of whom he has comprehensively out-managed this season, all currently earn significantly more than him.
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“When you reach this type of level, money could be important, but it is not [everything],” Conte said. “When you stay at this level, money only explains to you your value. It tells you your value. Money is important, but it is not everything.”
The chance of Conte walking out on Chelsea to go to Inter this summer are still slim. He has started to look for London schools for his daughter. But he does not want to make a formal public commitment on his future until it is secured by the club. Before then, Chelsea have a title to win and possibly a double.
Conte hopes his side can wrap up the title race early against West Brom on Friday (Getty)
“It is not important for me,” he said of contract talk. “If, in the future, we decide to extend the contract, we will decide this. For me the most important thing now is to win. Then the future is important. I have two more years of contract, and it is important to win and write the history of this club with my players.”
Conte has written new Chelsea history this season by cleaning up the mess he inherited, turning Chelsea’s season around and taking them so close to the title….