Antonio Conte has left Inter Milan, despite leading the club to their first Serie A title in 11 years.
The former Juventus manager was said to have been involved in a dispute with the club’s owners over their next steps, following their title-winning feat.
It was reported that amid financial issues, the club chiefs wanted Conte to sell a number of key players this summer, and he also should take a salary cut.
However, Conte is said to be unwilling to let some of the important players, which he deemed “untouchable” – including Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, leave.
With neither side willing to budge, a decision was taken, which sees the Ex-Chelsea boss leave by mutual consent.
A deal has reportedly been agreed which will see the final year of his contract paid off, to the tune of £6million.
A statement on Inter’s website said:
“FC Internazionale Milano announces that it has reached an agreement for the consensual termination of the contract with the coach Antonio Conte.
“The whole club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work he has done, which culminated in winning the nineteenth Scudetto.
“Antonio Conte will remain forever in the history of our club.”
Ultras from the Curva Nord made their feelings clear on Wednesday ahead of Conte’s departure, hanging banners in front of the club’s headquarters, backing the manager.
One read: “Zhang take your responsibilities or leave our city”, with another declaring: “Resizing the champions is just foolish. Coaches, staff and players do not touch each other”.
A delegation of fans also met with Inter management.
Conte joined the club in 2019 and immediately challenged the dominance of his former employers, Juventus, in Italy.
In his first season, Inter finished in Italy’s top four and reached the final of the Europa League – falling to Sevilla in an epic final in Germany.
In his second campaign, Conte’s side, led by the goalscoring exploits of Lukaku and Martinez, took full advantage, ultimately claiming the Scudetto by 12 points.
Conte had subsequently been looking to press forwards in 2021-22 to further stamp home their domestic dominance, while also challenging in the Champions League’s latter stages.
But a meeting with chairman, Steven Zhang, left him to conclude that his ambitions were at odds with the club’s plans, given their current finances.
The club are looking to raise in excess of £70million through player sales this summer, with no first-team player seen as indispensible.
And in their meeting at the club headquarters, Zhang also asked for the wage bill to be cut by 15 to 20 per cent.
More talks with senior club staff will continue, as they seek to replace Conte on the touchline.
Lazio boss, Simone Inzaghi, who has done a fine job at the Stadio Olimpico in recent years, is seen as a likely successor, while Maximiliano Allegri, who replaced Conte at Juventus previously – is another name that is being considered by the Italian champions.