Antonio Conte will reportedly take charge of AC Milan next season in a move that would see him oust title-winning manager Stefano Pioli.
Conte, who used to manage rivals Inter Milan, has been jobless since being sacked by Tottenham last year following a brutal tirade against his players.
Pioli’s contract runs until June 2025 but he has come under increasing scrutiny this season, with the Rossoneri third in Serie A and detached from the title race.
Milan are willing to offer Conte a route back into management according to Telelombardia, a regional television outlet, via Football Italia.
The report claims that Conte has talked with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan’s senior advisor and former striker who straddled both sides of the city’s divide as a player.
Antonio Conte will reportedly take charge of AC Milan next season, replacing Stefano Pioli
Conte was sacked by Tottenham last March following an extraordinary rant against his players
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His name has been doing the rounds in Italy recently, with other reports claiming he has had several meeting with the top brass at Napoli.
Conte previously led Inter Milan between 2019 and 2021, steering them to the title in his final season, and was also highly successful in the dugout at Juventus.
While taking charge of your former nemeses would be viewed as a bombshell move in England, it has lots of precedent in Italian football – Pioli has managed both San Siro clubs, as did the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni among others.
Conte’s stock here fell during his tumultuous reign at Spurs between 2021 and 2023.
While he was able to guide them into the Champions League, his clinical air left supporters with an icy impression.
He delayed talking about a contract renewal in his final season and was eventually let go by ‘mutual consent’ in March 2023, just over a week after a 3-3 draw at Southampton where Spurs surrendered a two-goal advantage late on.
The Italian laid into his players during a series of explosive post-match interviews after the Southampton game, in which he questioned their desire and attitude, with huge concerns being raised at board level over how the rant affected the squad’s morale.
Current boss Stefano Pioli led AC Milan to the Serie A title in 2022 but they have failed to kick on
Conte reportedly spoke with club legend and senior advisor Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the move
‘They are used to it here,’ fumed Conte after the 3-3 draw at St Mary’s. ‘They don’t play for something important. They don’t want to play under pressure. They don’t want to play under stress. It is easy in this way. Tottenham’s story is this.
‘I said I wanted to see the fire and I have not seen it. I said that I want to see the fire in their eyes, in their hearts. I want to see the right spirit. Not only in the training session, but on the pitch because it is here you make the difference.
‘Until now, I try to hide the situation but there are 10 games to go and some people think we can fight. Fight for what? With this spirit, this attitude, this commitment? What? For seventh, eighth, 10th place?’.
Spurs were fourth at the time of his sacking but clubs behind them had games in hand and they ultimately finished eighth under inteirm bosses Christian Stellini and Ryan Mason.
This season has hardly been a disaster for AC Milan under Pioli but there is a sense thta the club have not kicked on since winning the Scudetto in 2022 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals last season.
They are seven points behind second-place side Juventus and came third in the Champions League’s ‘group of death’ consisting of PSG, Borussia Dortmund, and Newcastle.
Conte’s reputation in Italy is unblemished after winning four Serie A titles as a manager – and five as a player
Managing both Milanese clubs is not uncommon and was done famously by the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni
Despite crashing out of the Coppa Italia quarter-finals against Atalanta, they are actually on a seven-game unbeaten run in the league and could still challenge for top honours, but they are eight points behind frontrunners Inter.
Defensive problems have been their Achilles’ Heel. Leaking 25 goals, they only have the joint-eighth-best record at the back in Serie A and are far more porous than the top two sides.
Conte, renowned for his discipline and conservative managerial style, would likely be an appointment who would prioritise fixing that.
And his reputation in Italy does not take the Spurs debacle into account very much, considering he has won four Serie A titles as a manager and five as a player.