Chelsea have a new favorite to replace Antonio Conte

Laurent Blanc has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Antonio Conte, should the Italian leave Stamford Bridge summer.

Despite winning the Premier League in his first season with the Blues, a tricky second campaign featured frustration, anger, ill-advised transfers, and ultimately a fifth placed finish.

With no Champions League football to look forward to next year, many fans and pundits have been expecting a change in manager for the 2018/19 season.

According to the Daily Mail, one of the potential replacements for the former Italy manager may be the former France manager Laurent Blanc.

The 52-year-old left Les Bleus after Euro 2012, where his team exited the tournament at the Quarter Final stage.

Paris Saint-Germain soon came calling however, and the World Cup winner spent three years at the club, winning Ligue 1 in every season he spent at the helm.

A lack of Champions League success put paid to his position at the Parc des Princes however, and the 2015 French manager of the year has been out of work since that 2016 sacking.

An appointment would mark the 14th manager owner Roman Abramovich has hired in his 15 years in West London, and action is expected next week upon the return from holiday of Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

If the problems finding a successor persist, the Daily Mail also report that former manager Avram Grant may be considered to take the role for the second time in his managerial career.

The Israeli was in charge in the 2007-08 season, but was left by the side of the road despite a second placed finish and Champions League final appearance. Grant didn’t lose a single home game in his time at Chelsea.

SPURS TO RIVAL CHELSEA FOR SARRI IF POCHETTINO LEAVES

Tottenham will rival Chelsea for Maurizio Sarri this summer if Mauricio Pochettino leaves the club.

Football Italia reports that Daniel Levy has refused to deny a possible move for Sarri, amid rumours that Pochettino could leave for Real Madrid.

Pochettino has been heavily linked with a move to Spain following Zinedine Zidane’s departure from the club.

Sarri has largely been considered as Chelsea’s first choice to replace Antonio Conte, with a deal appearing close.

However, reports that have emerged throughout the week highlighting Chelsea’s off-the-field issues have cast doubts over Sarri’s potential appointment.

Napoli remain keen to receive the full €8 million of Sarri’s release clause, despite already hiring Carlo Ancelotti as his successor.

Laurent Blanc and Luis Enrique have both been named as potential alternatives to Sarri, but missing out on the 58-year-old would come as a huge blow for the Blues are appearing to be so close to his secure his services.

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