Why Abramovich should avoid splashing £12.8m to sack Conte and back him instead

Antonio Conte is on the brink of Chelsea exit after disastrous back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Watford in the Premier League.

Just a season on from winning the Premier League, the Italian is fighting hard to save his job after seeing Chelsea fall 19 points behind Manchester City in the title race. It is a huge gap but one has to make note of City’s excellence under Pep Guardiola that has made other clubs look mediocre this season.

The Blues are battling to book a place in the Champions League next season with Conte publicly asking the board to offer him a vote of confidence earlier this week.

“I must be honest, when there are these type of rumours or speculation after the first game of the season against Burnley… maybe I’d like the club to prepare a statement for me, no, to say they trust me in my work and my job,” Conte was quoted by ESPN.

However, if we are to sack Conte now, we’ve to pay an enormous amount of money as compensation. According to Metro, Chelsea have to hand a sum of £12.8m if they are to show the Italian the door this week. It is believed that the figure is high, particularly because it includes fees for other backroom staff members who would unavoidably depart alongside him.

The report adds that the Blues had hoped to extend Conte’s current contract, which expires in the summer of 2019 but failed to reach an agreement and instead just rewarded his debut season’s success with a pay hike.

However, Chelsea would perhaps consider themselves lucky, having not extended their manager’s deal. Had they done that, Conte would have pocketed an extra £12m in case of a sack.

There is an air of uncertainty around Conte’s future at the club, with owner Roman Abramovich being infamous for his brutal nature of sacking managers. Since buying the club in 2003, Abramovich has sacked seven different managers, and Conte is no different despite winning the Premier League just last season.

Analysing things in a better way; since the turn of the year, Conte has overseen two wins in all competitions – 5 draws (although one concludes a penalty shoot-out win over Norwich in a third round FA Cup replay) and 3 defeats.

The form is not a disaster but is something of a mini-crisis that has developed this year. Abramovich could swing the axe anytime soon, maybe even after Monday’s home game against relegation-threatened West Brom, if we end up losing again.

But the Russian billionaire should sit up and take into consideration that the things aren’t as bad as he perceives. We are 4th in the table, a point below 3rd-placed Liverpool and one ahead of 5th-placed Tottenham Hotspur. We are competing in the FA Cup and the Champions League, where we face Hull City and Barcelona respectively.

It is understandable that there is extreme pressure, and a poor result in the league coupled with the rivals winning on the other side could see us drop out of the top-four. It would be terrible if that happens and that might see the end of Conte’s tenure at the club.

But will sacking Conte provide a remedy? Certainly, not. The Italian’s tactical revolution saw Chelsea lift the championship last campaign and while many would argue his tactics have become outdated and exposed this term, there is every reason why the board should back their manager, at least until the end of the season.

It will be a wise decision from the board if they give Conte time until the end of the season and then reassess the situation. Current form is certainly troublesome, though injuries have not done us any favour this season.

Once our gaffer gets a fully fit squad to choose from, there is no reason why our team cannot enjoy a resurgence towards the business end and finish the season on a solid note.

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