Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte left the newly-crowned Serie A champion by “mutual consent” Wednesday, just weeks after leading the Nerazzurri to their first league title in more than a decade.
Conte was reportedly unhappy about the club’s decision to sell players in this coming transfer window because of financial constraints.
“Inter can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Antonio Conte for the termination of his contract by mutual consent,” the club said in a statement. “The club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work that he has done, culminating in Inter’s 19th top-flight title. Antonio Conte will forever remain a part of our club’s history.”
Inter’s finances were hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the club’s early elimination from European football, and the club was forced to take out a vast loan from Oaktree Capital recently in a financing deal with the American investment fund.
Inter’s owner Suning and president Steven Zhang reportedly wanted to slash the wage bill by 20% and make a profit of around 100 million euros (122 million dollars) in the transfer market, likely by selling at least one of the club’s most important players.
Inter won its first Serie A title in 11 years this month, in Conte’s second season in charge. The 51-year-old Conte had another season remaining on his contract.
He was keen to continue the project he had started at Inter and to build — rather than detract from — his squad in order to be able to challenge in the Champions League. Inter finished bottom of its Champions League group this season.
Conte previously won three Serie A titles with Juventus and won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017. He also coached the Italy national team.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi is reportedly top of the list of names being considered to replace Conte, along with former Juventus coaches Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri as well as Bologna’s Siniša Mihajlović, who used to play for Inter.
Conte arrived at Inter in 2019 and came close three times to ending the club’s lengthy wait for a trophy in his first season in charge. The club finished a point behind Juventus in Serie A and lost the Europa League final to Sevilla. The Nerazzurri also lost in the Italian Cup semifinals to eventual champion Napoli.
Inter last won the league in 2010 under José Mourinho, along with the Champions League title and the Italian Cup. It retained the domestic cup the following year.