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Antonio Conte Wants Andrea Pirlo as New Chelsea Coach, Says Ray Wilkins

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2017

FLORENCE, ITALY - JUNE 08:  Head coach Antonio Conte (L) and Andrea Pirlo during an Italy training session at Coverciano on June 8, 2015 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wants to bring Italian football legend Andrea Pirlo to the club as a coach, according to former Blues man Ray Wilkins.

Wilkins spent time with the Stamford Bridge outfit as a player and was an assistant manager for the Blues as early as the 2009-10 season. Speaking on TalkSport (h/t James Cambridge of the Daily Express) on Wednesday, he suggested Conte is seeking to appoint his compatriot to his staff.

"Pirlo, the Italian, speaks English and he can come in tomorrow," he said. "I know for a fact he's been around Stamford Bridge a few times this season. He's the one I'm sure he wants to bring in—he managed him until he was 34 at Juventus."

As we can see courtesy of the great man’s official Twitter feed, he did spend some time at Chelsea during the festive period:

Andrea Pirlo @Pirlo_official

Thank Chelsea for the hospitality. I couldn't miss a picture with the captain Terry https://t.co/W7Olk0NdJe

As noted by Wilkins, Pirlo and Conte have worked together previously. Indeed, the coach helped Pirlo maintain his status as one of the world’s finest midfielders during their time together at Juventus.

The veteran playmaker was released by AC Milan in 2011 and Conte moved quickly to bring him to Juve. During their time together in Turin, they won three league titles and when the coach departed in 2014, Pirlo went to win another; he left the club in 2015 to join New York City FC, where he is currently plying his trade.

David Amoyal of ESPN FC believes Conte played a massive role in helping Pirlo remain a world-class operator for so long:

David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal

@J_JCoyle Pirlo was considered done and finished by everyone until Conte got him going, no surprise Pirlo said he's best coach he ever had

The current Chelsea boss would love to have someone of the 37-year-old’s calibre at Stamford Bridge on a day-to-day basis, especially with current head coach Steve Holland set to leave at the end of the campaign to become assistant manager to England boss Gareth Southgate.

Pirlo is currently plying his trade at NYCFC.
Pirlo is currently plying his trade at NYCFC.Alex Menendez/Getty Images

After all, Pirlo didn’t only enjoy success with Juventus. With AC Milan he won the UEFA Champions League twice, while on the international stage he helped inspire Italy to the 2006 FIFA World Cup with some exemplary performances.

Pirlo has always come across as a man that thinks differently about the game of football too, a trait that would point towards him thriving as a coach. However, the legendary midfielder remains a key man for NYCFC, having started all four of the Major League Soccer games so far this season.

For more news, rumours and related stories about Antonio Conte, Chelsea and the Premier League, we recommend checking out the Premier League and Chelsea streams on Bleacher Report's app.  

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