It’s time for another Italian job at Chelsea .
Antonio Conte is due to arrive in the summer after leading Italy at Euro 2016 and will be looking to kick-start a new period of glory at Stamford Bridge.
He comes with a reputation as a committed, tactically astute coach , while his CV is already growing into an impressive list of trophy wins.
But he will undoubtedly need help in west London – both from those at the club already and, in all likelihood, a few of his most trusted lietenants.
So just who might Conte look to take to Chelsea with him? Here are five of his favoured members of staff:
Angelo Alessio (assistant coach)
The right-hand man, and like his boss, an ex-Juventus player from the south of Italy (Salerno).
Described as tranquil, Alessio won the 1990 UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with the Bianconeri as a utility man in midfield or a second striker.
Alessio coached the Napoli youth teams, then Imolese, Massese and Spal, before teaming up with Conte at Siena in 2010. From there their partnership continued at Juve, the national team and now west London.
The 50-year-old was interim Juventus head coach for short spell during Conte’s touchline and dressing room ban for his involvement in a betting scandal in late 2012 (Alessio was also briefly disqualified).
Giving post-match interviews during that time he came across well, offering a calm and less combative style than the often fiery Conte.
But don’t think he isn’t a competitor. Unimpressed at Inter’s behaviour after they became the first side to beat the Old Lady at the Juventus Stadium in November 2012, Alessio said “Inter need to learn how to win (with dignity).”
Massimo Carrera (defensive coach)
A former idol at Atalanta, Massimo Carrera will be the new defensive guru at Chelsea’s Cobham HQ.
Should know his stuff having played at full-back and sweeper for Bari, Juventus and once for Italy. But it was in the blue and black of Atalanta between 1996 and 2003 that Carrera was most adored.
He was a broad-shouldered, no-nonsense, anti-diva who made sure opposing strikers didn’t pass him.
Carrera went to work in the youth sector at Juve in June 2009, and temporarily stepped in as first team coach in 2012 when both Conte and his vice Alessio were banned. The 51-year-old followed the incoming Chelsea boss to work with the national team in 2014.
Paolo Bertelli (fitness coach)
This fella with short silver hair and a steely stare will be responsible for getting the boys in blue into tip top shape. Though he is not a gorilla in a baseball cap forcing players to do press-ups in the mud and run for miles in the rain.
Bertelli, currently with Italy and previously at Roma and Juve, is highly attentive to changes in modern football and research.
“As studies of players’ performances show, there is no need for long running sessions. Rather, it’s better to work on acceleration and deceleration,” says the 55-year-old from Florence.
He added: “In the 90s you worked in stages: the fitness base, eliminating lactic acid and then speed development. Not anymore. Now we go straight in with acceleration, sudden stops and changes of direction.”
Chelsea were once famed for their fitness, but have looked leggy and clumpy this season. Bertelli’s ultra-modern approach could make them formidable once again.
Mauro Sandreani (talent scout/assistant)
There isn’t much this guy hasn’t done. A former player for Roma, Genoa and Vicenza, and coach at, among others, Padova (who he took into Serie A), Torino and Empoli.
He was appointed head of scouts at Juve in 2006, and in July 2013 Conte saw something he valued and invited Sandreani to the first team training pitches as part of his staff.
Sandreani has also been a co-commentator for national TV channel RAI and lent his voice to football computer games.
In short, someone Conte can also rely on. What this 61-year-old doesn’t know about football isn’t worth knowing.
Gianluca Conte (chief analyst)
Conte’s younger brother (the middle of three), Gianluca was also a youth player at Lecce like Antonio. Apparently more skilful than his older sibling, he didn’t make the grade despite managing a few first team appearances. But he stayed in the game.
Gianluca is described as his big bruv’s “eyes”, scrutinising details from player behaviour during training to potential tactical tweaks. The former defender has a degree in Sports Motor Science.
The 43-year-old’s role at Stamford Bridge is likely to be chief analyst of opponents. The soon-to-be Blues brothers worked together at Bari, Siena and Juve.