Former Barcelona Coach for Chelsea Job
Luis Enrique is in pole position for the Chelsea job when, as is expected, Antonio Conte leaves at the end of the season.
The Mail on Sunday have learned that the former Barcelona boss has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Conte within Stamford Bridge.
Enrique’s availability — he left the Nou Camp in the summer — has elevated him above the likes of Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, both of whom have two years to run on their deals.
It is thought that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich would prefer not to be involved in a battle to extract a contracted manager from their current club.
Enrique, who won two La Liga titles and the Champions League in three seasons at Barcelona, could be installed before June.
There is an acceptance that Conte will either resign or be sacked come May and it is thought his fate was sealed over his handling of Diego Costa, last season’s top goalscorer, who quit the club after a fall-out with the manager.
The Italian has also clashed with the hierarchy over transfer policy. It is understood he was not happy when Nemanja Matic was sold to rivals Manchester United in July, even though he had given the green light for the midfielder to leave after securing the signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco.
That tension has remained and it is said that Conte has again been frustrated by January dealings.