Over in West London, at Chelsea, the Blues’ 4-1 defeat at Watford on Monday evening has prompted much speculation about the future of the club’s head coach Antonio Conte. The Italian has been reported as being on thin ice at Stamford Bridge, despite his Premier League win rate being 70.3% – joint best with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Chelsea have won only three of their last 10 games in all competitions, and their thrashing at Watford has highlighted the fragility of the current team.
Reports in Spain have stated that former Barcelona, Celta Vigo and Roma coach Luis Enrique is being lined up to replace Conte at Stamford Bridge. Italy have also given up on making Conte the national team manager for the second time, too, according to reports in the London press. Ronald Koeman, the former Everton boss, is set to be announced as the Netherlands’ new national team boss next week, Dutch press reports have stated.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the Premier League is considering introducing a winter break. Opinion is split on the issue, with some managers, such as Pep Guardiola calling for its introduction. Others, including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, are against the idea.
In other news, Chelsea have been linked with a move for West Ham’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart. He is a target for the Blues, reportedly, if Thibaut Courtois leaves to move Real Madrid. Arsenal are reportedly trying to tie Welsh international midfielder Aaron Ramsey, now 27, to the club with a new contract. His current deal expires in 18 months.
Manchester United and Liverpool are apparently set to tussle for the services of American winger Christian Pulisic. The 19-year-old is currently at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. German giants Bayern Munich are also reportedly showing an interest in the player.
The Scotland national team’s search for a new coach looks like its heading back to the future. Former Scotland and Rangers manager Walter Smith, now 69, is being lined up to be approached by the Scottish Football Association, according to press in Scotland. The SFA has made contact with Smith about the job, according to reports. He was last Scotland manager between 2004 and 2007. Another former Scotland and Rangers boss, Alex McLeish, is also being linked with the role, as the SFA looks like dipping into its past to try and sort out its future.
Also in Scotland, it has been reported that Irish striker Anthony Stokes, released from his contract at Hibs last month due to disciplinary issues, is attracting interest from English Championship side Bolton Wanderers, as well as Greek outfit Panathinaikos.