Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is a huge fan of Andrea Pirlo and wants to bring him to Stamford Bridge this summer – but as his number 2.
Back in December, Pirlo himself visited Chelsea’s training ground and speculation immediately swirled around his future at MLS side New York City.
Now, Chelsea legend Ray Wilkins has dropped a huge hint that Conte will bring in the Italian as his number 2 after news emerged that current first team assistant Steve Holland will join England full-time in the summer.
Wilkins, who has been assistant at Stamford Bridge on several occasions during his time in football, is convinced that Conte wants to bring the former Juventus midfielder to Chelsea:
Wilkins told talkSPORT: “Pirlo, the Italian, speaks English and he can come in tomorrow.
“I know for a fact that he’s been around Stamford Bridge a few times this season.
“He’s the one I’m sure he wants to bring in – he managed him until he was 34 at Juventus.”
After a picture surfaced of Cesc Fabregas looking matey with Andrea Pirlo on social media back in December, Chelsea fans could not contain their excitement at the thought of the Italian stallion at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte did, however, play down speculation that Pirlo would join him at Chelsea, saying that the New York City midfielder was just visiting his old manager Conte and coaches Alessio, Bertelli and Tous, but months after the picture, Wilkins’ latest comments have stirred the pot.
Pirlo informed his 2.3 million Twitter followers that he was visiting London with family, and that alone gave Chelsea fans a reason to speculate.
Imagine the scene – Andrea Pirlo guarding the touchline in hislong, grey Armani coat as Conte leaps around like a mad man.
Few footballers on the planet command as much respect as Andrea Pirlo.
The 37-year-old, whose beard and flowing locks make him instantly recognisable, enjoyed a fabulous career in Europe before moving to America in 2015 to see out the final years of his career with New York City FC.
Pirlo, whose final match in European football was for Juventus against Barcelona in the 2014-15 Champions League final, is still a midfielder with wonderful technique.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Premier League fixture at home against Manchester City tonight has attracted too many attention.
After Conte’s boys suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the weekend against Crystal Palace – their first defeat in eight Premier League games – this has become an important game in the title race.
A defeat here will put the Blues under unnecessary pressure, and the gap at the top could be closed down to four points should Tottenham win their respective game.
Manchester City are undefeated in their last five Premier League games, but three consecutive draws have taken them to fourth in the league. Another disappointing result for City will end all hopes of catching up with Chelsea.