Antonio Conte has admitted that his Chelsea destiny will not be decided by whether or not he can win the FA Cup, with the Italian expected to leave Stamford Bridge even if the club salvage their season.
Amid growing concerns over his relationship with star player Eden Hazard, Conte is set to pay the price for his battles with the board and members of his squad.
But Chelsea face the threat of having to pay the full £9 million bill if they sack Conte, with sources in Italy claiming he could take a year off if the right opportunity does not present itself.
Their Champions League elimination has left Chelsea fighting to qualify for next season’s tournament and trying to win the FA Cup ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final trip to Leicester City.
Fifth-placed Chelsea face fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after the international break, but Conte’s future is unlikely to be determined by what happens over the final weeks of the season.
Winning the Champions League may have forced owner Roman Abramovich to consider keeping Conte for the final year of his Chelsea contract.