Antonio Conte has quit Inter Milan – just days after leading them to the Serie A title.
The former Chelsea boss had a huge row with the club’s president Steven Zhang and is unhappy at future plans.
Cash-strapped Inter may have been forced to sell stars to raise more than £80m this summer and slash the wage bill by 20 per cent.
And Conte, who had a year left on his deal, has quit the club and will receive around £5m in compensation.
A bombshell report in Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday night hinted at a divorce between the coach and the Nerazzurri due to expected cutbacks at the club.
It is said that Inter are looking to cut their wage bill by about 20 percent to remove €100m from their budget due to financial worries, with Conte against any such move and willing to walk out over the proposal.
There are reports Antonio Conte sensationally held discussions with Tottenham three weeks ago in relation to taking over the vacant managerial position at the club.
The Inter Milan boss is being linked with the Spurs hot seat amid speculation he could be set to part company with his current employer despite winning the Serie A title.
Conte’s side ended Juventus ‘ nine-year grip on the division earlier this month as their status as champions was secured on May 3.
But it seems the Italian may already have been aware of Tottenham’s interest, as two days later Corriere dello Sport reported (via Metro ) that he had held ‘fruitful talks’ over the possibility of replacing Jose Mourinho at the helm.
Mourinho was sacked amidst the European Super League furore on April 18 – around two weeks before Spurs’ alleged approach to Conte.
Julian Nagelsmann had also been in the running but his move to Bayern Munich was confirmed before the end of April.
That led Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy to consider Conte, who was seemingly willing to discuss a potential move before the season had even finished.
Asked about his future by TV show Le Iene after Inter’s achievement was sealed, Conte said: “I’ll be staying or leaving Inter?
“Now we enjoy the celebrations, then we’ll meet and decide.
“We will choose the best destiny for Inter.”
Conte’s appointment would be slightly controversial, given he had a two-year spell in charge of rivals Chelsea, but his reputation as a serial winner would be welcome at Tottenham, and could even persuade Harry Kane to stick around for at least another season.
Reports in Italy claim Inter contacted Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, as Antonio Conte is not prepared to stay with a downgraded squad.
Conte won the Scudetto with several weeks to spare, but the financial crisis at Suning has overshadowed the celebrations.
There are multiple reports today that Conte will not accept the new terms, which include selling players to raise €80-100m and cutting all wages by 20 per cent.
The race is on to find a replacement, and while Max Allegri had been on the radar considering his experience with former Juventus director Beppe Marotta, it seems he too is out of Inter’s current budget.
Instead, Tuttomercatoweb and Sempre Inter both insist the Nerazzurri already contacted Inzaghi on Monday.
It was not a proposal as such, but an exploratory call to understand the situation, especially after Inzaghi railed against Lazio on Sunday evening for keeping him waiting 18 months over a new contract.
Inzaghi would be an intriguing option to replace Conte, as both use a 3-5-2 formation, while at Lazio he has achieved strong results despite a very thin squad.
Meanwhile, Inzaghi is set for showdown talks with Lazio President Claudio Lotito and director Igli Tare today.