Antonio Conte was sacked by Chelsea for his alienation of several players and a complete breakdown in communication with the club’s board, as per reports.

An acrimonious six-month stand-off now looks set to move to the law courts following Conte’s dismissal on Thursday by the club’s chairman Bruce Buck at their Cobham training ground.

Chelsea believe Conte’s behaviour effectively breached the terms of his contract as manager. The club confirmed his departure on Friday morning.

Conte’s text message last June to Diego Costa, informing the striker he was not in his plans, is expected to become a key piece of evidence as the club build a case against the Italian.

Conte’s lawyers will dispute the claims made by Chelsea and have begun the work of securing his £9m payoff, due for the remaining final year of his three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

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