Barcelona Striker Linked with Chelsea

Conte himself has nearly dared Blues owner Roman Abramovich to sack him, with the Italian determined not to resign.

But it still seems unlikely the former Spain global will come to Chelsea's rescue should they ditch Conte before the end of the season.

Feb 6, 2018 - Conte dares Chelsea to sack him after and questions whether his players have the mentality to play for a big club after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to high-flying Watford.

"When you join Chelsea, you know exactly what you're letting yourself in for, in terms of the owner and his team - it's ruthless".

Chelsea want to give Conte the chance to try figure the situation out, and also don't want another costly pay-off, but there is also the issue of the best possible replacement.

Proclaiming himself as "The Special One", Mourinho lifted the league title (Chelsea's first in 50 years) and also the Football League Cup in his debut season.

Conte is understood to be angry with the club's transfer policy which has seen him miss out on the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Virgil van Dijk and Alex Sandro. The hierarchy want to wait until the clean slate of the end of the season, when they can also make a clearer decision on the next man, but have naturally been considering options.

Lionel Messi
GETT Lionel Messi has been told by Luis Suarez he wants to join Chelsea

"But I'm afraid that's just the way it is - the top players are always going to go to top clubs".

Leicester has done it in the past, so have Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Chelsea legend Dennis Wise has no doubts they can continue to attract top line managers.

Chelsea have already opened negotiations with former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique to replace Antonio Conte if they finally decide to sack the Italian boss before the end of the current season, according to Sport.

Despite signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid for £70m last summer, Chelsea have struggled to find a consistent goalscorer in their side.

Paul Ince was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News.