BAYERN MUNICH are the favourites in the race to land Antonio Conte this summer, according to reports.
The Italian has been out of work since his unceremonious departure from Chelsea last summer but is understood to be keen to get back into the game after a sabbatical.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Conte is being lined up by the German giants and they look the “most concrete” option.
Current boss Niko Kovac has endured a difficult first season in charge at the Allianz Arena.
Although his side now finally sit top of the Bundesliga, an early Champions League exit to Liverpool will not have gone down well with the board, who came close to sacking him in the autumn.
But with Conte, 49, unattached and therefore available, Bayern may take their chance to land the three-time Serie A winner.
Although he will surely demand a big salary before committing to a new club.
The former Juventus and Italy boss was understood to be on the brink of returning to his homeland this summer before Bayern’s interest.
He was the heavy favourite to replace Luciano Spalletti at Inter Milan – but only if the San Siro club agreed to pay him £9million after tax – while Roma have also been linked.
That would see him earn £2.5m more than the league’s current highest-payed gaffer, his successor at Juventus Massimiliano Allegri.
Conte is still in a legal dispute with former employers Chelsea over how much severance pay he is due.
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The Italian believes he should be paid up for the full final year of his three-season deal as manager – worth £9m.
There is also an attempt by his legal team to chase an extra payment to cover potential loss of earnings because Chelsea left it so late in the summer to sack him he was unable to get a job elsewhere.
But the club are fighting the claim, taking the view that the manager’s behaviour during his last year in charge amounted to a breach of his contract.