Antonio Conte’s rift with Chelsea started after being told he’d have to generate funds for a spending spree by first selling some of his stars.
And that was behind his infamous text message to Diego Costa telling the Spanish international striker he was no longer a part of his plans.
The text to Costa infuriated Chelsea’s hierarchy – but it’s now emerged Conte’s move was directly down to conversations over the club’s summer transfer plans.
Conte has been telling pals in Italy that he was furious at learning he’d have to self-finance part of Chelsea’s transfer market activity by off-loading some of his title-winning squad.
And that’s triggered a split which is threatening to disrupt Chelsea’s summer plans – with some sources suggesting the excitable Italian could even quit Stamford Bridge.
Conte had hoped to steal a march on his rivals by doing quick business after winning the Premier League in his first season in English football.
He’d targeted Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bayern Munich centre back Jerome Boateng and Juventus left back Alex Sandro in a £200 million spree.
But Stamford Bridge owner Roman Abramovich isn’t willing to sanction such a huge outlay and so far Chelsea haven’t managed to nail down any of their targets.
That’s angered Conte – especially as Manchester rivals City and United have both been active.
Pep Guardiola has already bagged £43 million Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva and paid £35 million for Benfica goalkeeper Ederson.
Jose Mourinho and United have been on the front foot too, snapping up Swedish defender Victor Lindelof, also from Benfica, and closing on £65
million Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
Conte’s text to Costa came just days after he was told he’d have to sell to buy – and it didn’t go down well with Chelsea’s bosses.
Inter Milan were keeping an eye on Conte’s situation at Stamford Bridge .
But they’ve now appointed Luciano Spalletti to close a possible escape route for an increasingly agitated Conte.