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Report: Antonio Conte Contacted by Milan Amid Dispute with Chelsea over Firing

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 24, 2018

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, on April 22, 2018. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

AC Milan have reportedly contacted Antonio Conte regarding his availability, and the sacked Chelsea boss is said to have given a "positive reply" despite an ongoing dispute with the Blues over his departure. 

Chelsea announced on July 13 that they were parting ways with Conte after months of speculation. Premium Sport (h/t Football Italia) reported Milan technical director-in-waiting, Leonardo, has touched base with Conte, who would need "a couple of months" to resolve his exit from Stamford Bridge.

It means the ex-national team boss may not be available to take over until September, which means incumbent Gennaro Gattuso has time to convince the Rossoneri board he's not worth replacing.

However, Radio Kiss Kiss (h/t Mirror's Martin Domin) reported there won't be any setback with Conte appointed soon after Milan show Gattuso the door.

The motive to recruit Conte is said to have been pushed by new owners, United States fund Elliott Management, which doesn't seem willing to grant Gattuso much sentiment despite qualifying for the UEFA Europa League last season.

Italian football writer Matthew Santangelo wasn't buying into the speculation of Conte's return to Serie A, however, and said the mitigation regarding a Chelsea severance would leave Gattuso in charge:

Matthew Santangelo @Matt_Santangelo

Gennaro Gattuso will 100% be Milan’s coach for the 2018-19 season, not Antonio Conte. The latter will take the season off, and perhaps next season the Rossoneri job opens should Rino fail to succeed.

But football is cutthroat, and Milan have been a particularly difficult ship to steer in recent years, meaning any wavering from Gattuso's side could lead to his replacement as soon as Conte is available.

The 48-year-old left Serie A in 2014 after winning three successive title wins with Juventus, and OptaPaolo showed the kind of instant impact Milan are hoping he can replicate:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

4 - Antonio Conte have been the 4th manager to lift the PL trophy in his 1st season in England (Mourinho 04-05, Ancelotti 09-10, Pellegrini 13-14). Repatriation?

The Rossoneri have finished sixth in Serie A for the past two seasons but have endured much uncertainty, with multiple changes to the ownership, board and coaching staff in recent years.

That being said, luring a manager of Conte's calibre—particularly back in his native division—could be one piece closer to completing the set needed to rebuild the lustre of one of Calcio's greatest institutions.

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