Antonio Conte trend highlights demand he would make to Man United board

Antonio Conte is being increasingly linked with the Manchester United job as pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian, now into his third full season in charge, saw his team lose 4-2 at Leicester City on Saturday.

That is United’s third defeat in five games across all competitions with some questioning Solskjaer’s credentials.

He is yet to deliver a trophy at Old Trafford and, after heavy summer investment which included the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, there are few excuses this term.

Defeat leaves United five points off the top, but a run of games against the league’s elite will lay bare United’s standing.

Talk of a change in the dugout on the red side of Manchester is increasing with Chelsea’s former boss seen as a credible candidate.

Conte, who has made it clear what he wants from his next job, is a man looking for employment.

Succees has tended to follow the Italian, who led the Blues to the title in 2017, but he comes with clear demands.

In his most recent job at Inter Milan, whom he led to Serie A success for the first time in over a decade, Conte wanted to be backed in the market – a familiar trend.

United have taken a more measured approach to transfers and recruitment since hiring Solskjaer, but that may have to change if they appoint the Italian in the near future.

Conte’s signings have been hit and miss in the past, but he is unlikely to take well to a board with tight purse strings, and won’t hold back either.

Conte’s great ambition

The 52-year-old arrived in west London in 2016 and very quickly got to grips with the demands of English football.

Chelsea, without any European commitments, eased to the title, going on a then record-setting 14-game winning run.

Defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup denied them a double but Conte wanted to build on his initial success, though there was friction.

Conte challenged the club to invest to match his own ambition, but clearly felt they weren’t doing so.

“I have great ambition, but I don’t have money to spend for Chelsea,” he said.

“The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. That ambition must always be the same.

“When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner. You must understand this.”

In his second summer nearly £130m was spent on Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiémoué Bakayoko. Later in January, money was spent on less successful additions Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.

Juve problems

Conte left Juventus in less than amicable circumstances with a year remaining on his deal seven years ago.

He had led the Old Lady to Serie A triumphs in 2012, 2013 and 2014 but claimed it “may be more difficult to keep winning with Juventus” in the future.

“I have matured with time and my feelings led me to make this choice,” he added.

Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vučinić, Alessandro Matri, Sebastian Giovinco and Carlos Tevez were all added for fees of €10m or more, but Conte wanted further investment.

He later made a comment which suggested he was having to work with a squad that was inferior to his rivals.

“Well, you cannot go to eat at a €100 restaurant with just €10 euro in your pocket, can you?” said Conte.

The Italian struggled to make an impact with Juventus in the Champions League despite their domestic success, although his successor Max Allegri did take the club to the European Cup final in his first year.

Since Conte’s departure the Italian giants have spent over £50m on Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Matthijs de Ligt and Arthur.