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Conte set for face-to-face talks with Inter chief Zhang

By John Skilbeck

Milan, May 16: Antonio Conte will meet Inter chairman Steven Zhang "as soon as possible" as the Scudetto winners look to keep the coach at San Siro, it was revealed on Saturday (May 15).

Worries over Inter's financial stability have been raised in recent weeks, with the Serie A champions not immune from the money worries that have blighted clubs globally during the COVID-19 crisis.

The club have asked players to accept a pay cut as part of a cost-cutting exercise, while the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been linked with moves away.

Giuseppe Marotta, CEO for the sporting side of the club, recently insisted all existing contracts will be respected by Inter should the players reject the club's request.

But amid such talk there is also concern about whether Conte sees his future with the Nerazzurri, and Marotta hopes the planned talks with Zhang prove beneficial.

"He is a winner and he has shown it here too," Marotta said of Conte.

"Coaches like this are very ambitious and his cycle has started very well and he will want to improve it."

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Marotta said: "As soon as possible there will be a meeting with the president, I hope we can continue."

Marotta was interviewed on the evening Inter lost 3-2 to Juventus, the club at which he and Conte first worked together.

Should Conte seek to leave Inter, where his contract runs to the end of next season, there would likely be several clubs interested in recruiting the 51-year-old.

He was linked in Spanish media on Saturday as a possible successor to Zinedine Zidane, whose time at Real Madrid looks to be coming to an end, although Raul is said to be a favourite for that position, should it come up.

Conte did not hold a news conference before the recent game against Roma, nor ahead of the Juventus clash, with Inter instead putting out match-focused comments from the coach on their website and club television station.

That meant Conte avoided being asked any uncomfortable questions by journalists about his or the club's future.

Assistant coach Cristian Stellini handled media duties following the Juventus game and was asked about Conte's well-being, saying: "He's in a calm frame of mind."

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Read more about: antonio conte serie a inter football
Story first published: Sunday, May 16, 2021, 4:10 [IST]
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