Antonio Conte is expected to raid former club Juventus for midfielder Paul Pogba in one of his first acts as new Chelsea manager, according to a former sporting director for the Serie A champions. Conte will succeed Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge following the conclusion of Italy's European Championship campaign, and attention has swiftly turned to the changes he may implement upon his arrival in West London.
The 46-year-old has built a managerial reputation with numerous clubs in his homeland, winning promotion to Serie A with Bari and Siena before returning to Juve – who he represented almost exclusively as a player – where he won three league titles and the Coppa Italia during a three-year spell. Conte took charge of the Italian national team after the 2014 World Cup and secured comfortable qualification for Euro 2016.
Just days after Conte's appointment at Chelsea, thoughts have already turned to what will be required to turn a disjointed squad back into title challengers. The club have previously been linked with an £86m ($121m) move for France international Pogba, according to The Express, and ex-Juventus chief Alessio Secco would not be surprised if a formal offer was made.
"Obviously he knows the players very well," he told TalkSport. "Some players did very, very well during the last few years. Chelsea will have a job to do to sign new players and when you have a good knowledge of them it is normal that you go back, not just to Juventus but to other Italian clubs to try what you think is better for your club.
"Some players, like Pogba, have an incredible value in terms of money and very, very few clubs can afford him. Chelsea are definitely one of them. We are talking about one of the best midfielders so I wouldn't be surprised if [Conte] went for him."
Conte's totalitarian approach as a manager has been heavily scrutinised since his appointment, and how he will deal with a Chelsea squad that downed tools during Jose Mourinho's tenure is among the key challenges he faces. Secco believes Conte is ideal for English football and is expecting great things.
"He is a strong manager, he has a strong personality, but he is definitely a very, very good manager," Secco, who was succeeded at Juventus by Giuseppe Marotta, added. "He can do really well in England.
"It will be an important challenge for his career but he has everything in order to do a great job at Chelsea. When you win what he has won in Italy it is normal that you want to challenge yourself in another league so he took the opportunity and he made the right choice."