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Antonio Conte: Chelsea boss targets long-term Stamford Bridge stay

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he wants to be in charge of the club for “many years” and lead the Blues into the new Stamford Bridge.

Conte arrived on a three-year deal last summer but is now looking beyond that.

The Blues have planning permission to rebuild their ground, though they are yet to decide whether to proceed.

“This could be a fantastic challenge for me and also for the club – to stay together and to play with this team in a new stadium,” said Italian Conte.

The last manager to have four calendar years in charge of Chelsea was John Neal between 1981 and 1985.
“I want to break this bad record. I must be positive,” added Conte, who steered the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season.

“When you start a job with a new club, I hope to stay in this club for many years. Honestly, the new stadium will be great – but I love Stamford Bridge a lot.

“Stamford Bridge is like my house.”
Chelsea have been given permission by the mayor of London to build a new £500m 60,000-seat stadium.

If they do rebuild Stamford Bridge they will probably need to temporarily relocate, with Wembley the most likely destination.

The national stadium is Tottenham’s home this season while White Hart Lane is redeveloped, and Spurs host Conte’s side in their first Premier League home game there on Sunday (16:00 BST).

Conte took charge of former club Juventus in 2011 as they moved into a new stadium. They had left their former Stadio delle Alpi home in 2006 and shared the Stadio Olimpico with local rivals Torino a ground for five years.

“For sure, it’s not the same when you play not in your stadium,” Conte added.

“But if you want to have another good step to improve the club, you must have this type of situation.”

Conte gone in two weeks?

Despite Conte’s comments, former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton is unconvinced the Italian will last in west London.

With striker Diego Costa absent in Brazil and midfielder Nemanja Matic sold to rivals Manchester United, Sutton told BBC Radio 5 live there are issues Conte might not be happy with.

“There are cracks appearing at Chelsea,” he said. “There’s a power struggle – are we to believe that Conte has control of the Costa situation when we know he didn’t want Matic sold to Manchester United? I can’t work certain things out.

“I do wonder, with only 11 days left of the transfer window, whether Conte is going to last. Things are not right at Stamford Bridge and it wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t there in two weeks.

“If he feels he doesn’t have the tools to challenge in the Premier League and in Europe, what is there to say he doesn’t just walk away?”