We all know the saying ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’.
In the transfer rumour mill, however, that saying is different. The concept is the same, but the ending isn’t.
You see, out there, in the very vast and murky world of representatives and intermediaries, there is one man who holds the key to everything, and that man is Jorge Mendes.
While Mino Raiola, his most direct rival, goes about his business relatively quietly, putting a lot of money to one side for a rainy day, Jorge Mendes is absolutely everywhere.
When he isn’t sorting out transfers for his own clients, he’s either advising Valencia in Spain or Monaco in France about how to conduct their transfer business, which tends to end up with them buying at least one Gestifute represented player (Nani, Bernardo Silva, Falcao etc…).
The Portuguese super agent has transcended the role of representative, he’s become a saviour.
Throw his name into a transfer saga, and it gives fans of the buying club hope, hope that his influence will get that highly desired transfer over the line.
That is why he only makes an appearance when the going gets tough, as has been the case with the Antonio Conte saga in Italy.
The Italian media are adamant that Inter Milan are doing their everything to sign the Chelsea manager in order to replace the recently sacked Stefano Pioli, yet very few believe them.
Not only is Antonio Conte one win away from lifting the Premier League in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, but the former Juventus manager has already repeated many times that he is 100% staying at Chelsea.
Now, while the amount of money Inter Milan are reportedly prepared to offer him is actually mind-boggling (around £250k/week), cash isn’t everything.
While that might be the case for a lot of players, a manager doesn’t have 40+ years to plan for once his career comes to an end.
Take Arsène Wenger or Harry Redknapp as examples: they’re still in the game beyond their 65th birthdays.
That doesn’t mean Conte will do the same, but if the passion doesn’t disappear, why stop?
But we digress. Back to Jorge Mendes.
This continuous dismissal that Conte is unlikely to return to Italy has forced TuttoMercatoWeb to play the Jorge Mendes card in their latest exclusive.
The Italian website claim Inter Milan are doing everything in their power to make the transition from Chelsea to Milan as palatable as possible for Conte, which includes promises to bring in Radja Nainggolan and Daniele De Rossi.
Furthermore, the Serie A club are willing to surround him with the staff he wants, including Cristian Stellini, manager of Genoa’s U19s.
And then there’s Jorge Mendes. TuttoMercatoWeb claim Inter have asked him to unofficially have a word with Antonio Conte to, you know, just help him see the light and sign for a team that is, and has been for some time, a bit of a mess.
Having already fired two managers this season, who’s to say Antonio Conte will be given time at the San Siro next year?
Yes, Antonio Conte managed to turn things around very quickly at Stamford Bridge, but he did also inherit a squad that had won the Premier League the previous season and only finished 10th due to a very strange José Mourinho implosion.
Inter Milan, while still an attractive destination for a lot of managers, aren’t in that position.
Despite finishing fourth in 2015/16 under Roberto Mancini, their best season since 2011, the new owners replaced him with Frank De Boer, who lasted a grand total of 11 league games.
Unless you were looking for a new job, or wanted an upgrade on your current one, would you join a company with such a volatile environment? Probably not.
Antonio Conte isn’t in either of those positions. He seems happy at a club where things are going very well, and only a disagreement of the tallest order with the board could turn that around e.g. what happened at Juventus.
Rumours have filtered that tension between Roman Abramovich and the Italian manager exists, but they’ve mostly come from the Italian press, who are desperate for Antonio Conte to return to Serie A to see if he can cancel Juventus’ subscription to the Serie A title.
After all, if anyone can do it, it’s him, right? The man who beat Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho in less than nine months.
Unfortunately for Inter Milan, even creating the most hospitable conditions and having Jorge Mendes whisper sweet nothings in Conte’s ear seems like a lost cause in this venture.
If they want a top manager, Diego Simeone seems like their best bet.
Everything points towards his cycle at Atlético Madrid coming to an end, and he’s previously spoken about his desire to manager Inter Milan, a club he holds close to his heart from his playing career.
That’s our educated guess, anyways.