Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly made a decision as to who will manage the Stamford Bridge club next season, with the incumbent Antonio Conte now favoured in what would be considered a major U-turn after weeks of trying to hire a replacement.

Conte, who has always maintained that he will remain loyal to his contract, had been under pressure all season, despite winning the ​Premier League in record-breaking fashion in 2016/17.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

The club was linked with the likes of Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri, before seemingly settling on Maurizio Sarri as their number one choice.

However, talks with Sarri and ​Napoli, who have already replaced the 59-year-old with Carlo Ancelotti but have insisted on receiving a payment, have been nothing short of a nightmare.

That, combined with the expected cost of having to sack Conte, who outright refuses to resign and would be owed up to £9m in compensation, has led Don Balon to allege that Abramovich has now elected to stick with his current coach after all.

Despite the Chelsea hierarchy failing to see eye to eye with Conte on a number of issues, most notably transfer policy, it is said that the overall cost of sacking one manager on top of having to pay fees and bonuses for someone new is enough for Abramovich to decide in favour of leaving things as they are as 2018/19 rapidly approaches.

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Conte will be out of contract at the end of next season, giving Chelsea the chance of a clean break. Then Abramovich will be able to reassess his options as to who is available to bring in.