Roman Abramovich looks set to take a more ‘hands-on’ role at Chelsea from the end of the season, with Antonio Conte expected to leave the club.
Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham leaves the Blues eight points off the top four and, with the futures of Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard potentially hinging on Champions League qualification, the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are looking at a number of changes this summer.
The Telegraph report that Abramovich is ready to step up his active involvement in the search for both a new head coach and a new sporting director to replace Michael Emenalo – who left the club in November, taking up a role at Monaco just weeks later.
Conte looks unlikely to leave Stamford Bridge of his own accord as things stand, despite his well-documented struggles against the board and desire to return to Italy, with a £9m payoff waiting for him if the club terminate his contract early.
Abramovich, who bought the club in the summer of 2003, is facing the prospect of his club losing a number of key players at the end of the season – with just one year remaining on the contracts of Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Olivier Giroud.
Loanees Kurt Zouma and Michy Batshuayi also face uncertain futures, out of favor under Conte but facing an anxious wait to find out whether the as-yet unknown new boss in west London warms to them more than the Italian.
Chelsea can get back on track against West Ham at the Bridge next weekend, before a preview of their FA Cup semi-final against Southampton the following weekend.