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Conte’s Inter future uncertain amid clashes with Chinese owners – reports


Milan (AFP) – Antonio Conte’s future with Inter Milan is in doubt despite leading the club to the Serie A title for the first time in over a decade, according to reports in Italy on Wednesday.

“Inter-Conte, divorce!,” headlined the daily Gazzetta Dello Sport, reporting that the “final farewell could arrive in the next 48 hours”.

“Conte ready to break away,” headlined Corriere Dello Sport.

The 51-year-old Italian still has a year left in his contract, but has been at loggerheads with the cash-strapped club’s Chinese owners Suning over planned cost cutting which would prevent him building the team he wants to challenge at home and in Europe.

Inter registered losses of 100 million euros ($122 million) last season mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Suning Group shut down their Chinese club Jiangsu FC in February months after it won the Chinese Super League title.

Five days ago, Inter secured a cash injection worth 275 million euros ($336 million) with US investment firm Oaktree, in the form of a loan reported to be over three years.

In this context, Suning wants to save as much as possible both on the purchase of new players and salaries, and possibly selling those with the highest value, an approach that Conte believes incompatible with the club’s desire to play at the highest level in Europe.

The former Chelsea and Juventus boss took over in May 2019 on a three-year contract worth a reported 12 million euros ($14 million) a season.

His departure had also been heralded last summer after the club’s Europa League final defeat to Sevilla, and finishing runners-up in the league to Juventus.

Conte had blamed the club’s lack of investment on their failure to challenge in the Champions League in which they crashed out in the group stage in each of the last three seasons.

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