The Spanish giants will apparently not need to to get any kind of clearance from the Blues in order to rope in Antonio Conte as the replacement for struggling Julen Lopetegui.
This is according to Sky Sports, who claim that “Conte would be free to take over at Real Madrid as far as any contractual obligations with Chelsea are concerned” as the termination agreement that he had signed with the London side is said to only be binding in relation to clubs in England.
At this point, if Madrid do end up showing manager Lopetegui the door, they can freely approach Conte, who was sacked by the Premier League side in the summer and replaced by Maurizio Sarri.
Earlier this week, Calciomercato (h/t Football Espana) reported that if Conte was to be appointed by the three-time defending Champions League champions, they would need to pay a fee of €10.8 million to release him from his contract with the Blues. That is going by reports that the Italian is still being paid the final year of the three-year deal he signed in 2016 at Stamford Bridge.
Sky Sports had also recently reported that Conte had already been approached by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez with regards to taking over the hot seat at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Lopetegui may have finally seen a win against Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, but his side’s La Liga form has been appalling, with Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to Levante almost rock bottom for Madrid. This ensured they go into Sunday’s showdown against Barcelona at Camp Nou down in the sixth position.
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol also claims that Conte is ready to come back to football after leaving Chelsea in the summer.
Antonio Conte ready to return to football after leaving Chelsea in the summer. Conte is Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s first choice to replace Julen Lopetegui if they sack their manager. Contact has been made with Conte's representatives about his availability
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) October 24, 2018
Conte has been highly successful as a manager, enjoying successful stints with Juventus, Italy and Chelsea.
With Juve, he won three straight Serie A titles, while at Chelsea he won the Premier League in his debut term and the FA Cup last season. Despite that, the Blues opted for a change of direction after the team failed to qualify for the Champions League after finishing fifth in the league.
While Real may look like a team that needs the fire and organisation that made Conte so famous, his appointment at the Santiago Bernabeu may not be a popular choice with all the players.
According to El Pais (h/t Football Espana), goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who just moved from Chelsea to Madrid in the summer, has already expressed his concern to the dressing room regarding Conte coming in.
Currently, the Lopetegui’s job is as perilous as ever, and it would be a shock if a negative result in the Clasico did not result in his firing. And if Madrid are looking for a coach with a proven track record and who is out of work, Conte would fit the bill perfectly, especially given the fact that there is enough time to salvage something from this season.