The chaotic summer at Chelsea has hit a new low after still manager Antonio Conte has contradicted the club over when players should report back for pre-season training.
Although Maurizio Sarri is expected to replace Conte before Chelsea return for pre-season training, Chelsea have not fired Conte yet, which means he is still technically in charge and as a result he is still trying to make plans behind the scenes.
According to The Times, when a member of Chelsea’s technical staff emailed players not at the World Cup to tell them to report to the training ground on Saturday and Sunday for fitness tests, Conte contradicted them.
He responded by saying that he is still in charge and that everyone should return on Monday instead.
Conte still has a year left to run on his Chelsea contract and he is entitled to be paid for a further 12 months until he takes another job.
Chelsea are also obliged to make up any difference in salary in his next post for that year, meaning they could have to pay up to £10 million to Conte in compensation.
If they sacked Conte, they would have to pay not only compensation to him but nine members of his backroom staff.
And with Roman Abramovich pulling back his funding of Chelsea, the FA Cup winners don’t have money to pay off Conte and pay Sarri’s release clause.
This is a huge summer for Chelsea, who missed out on Champions League football next season, and who have huge question marks over the future of two of their World Cup stats, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois who have both dropped hints that they would like to move to Spain.
Add in that it is just five weeks before the start of the Premier League season and less than five weeks before the transfer window closes and it is clear to see that a mess it is at Stamford Bridge. A mess that might cost the club a top-four position next season.