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Five Aside

Chelsea-Conte contract negotiations will have 'happy ending' - Courtois

Thibaut Courtois believes Chelsea will do whatever it takes to find "a happy ending" to any talks with head coach Antonio Conte over a long-term contract extension at Stamford Bridge.

Conte was appointed on a three-year contract by Blues owner Roman Abramovich, but his spectacular success in leading the club 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League in his first season in English football has enhanced his reputation as one of Europe's most sought-after coaches.

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Sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea are likely to advance discussions with Conte over a new deal once the fate of the Premier League is decided, with the club keen to head off speculation that their head coach could be lured back to Italy by a lucrative offer from Inter.

Conte is reportedly keen to be given assurances of greater influence on transfer policy before committing to any contract extension, but Courtois is confident that Chelsea will find a way to reach an agreement when the time comes.

"The talks are maybe just rumours, I don't know," Courtois said of Conte's reported contract discussions. "But he's important for the club and I think the club knows that, so they will do whatever to have a happy ending.

"Maybe the league will be tougher next season. It depends on other teams but I think next season we can have a big say in the Premier League and the Champions League. We'll be fine.

Thibaut Courtois believes Chelsea can challenge in the Prem and in Europe next season.

"You see him on the line shouting and giving us instructions as a team and that gives a good feeling to the players on the pitch so you don't switch off. He's a manager with a lot of passion and he's always good for all the players to see a manager who's close to us."

One of the few difficulties Conte has encountered this season is the fact that his wife and daughter have remained living in Italy, though they are frequent visitors to London and spectators at Stamford Bridge. The plan is for both to move to England this summer, at the end of the academic year.

Earlier this month, Conte played down Inter's reported interest and the Italian has repeatedly stated his desire to "build something important" at Chelsea. Courtois is confident that the Italian's ambition will come to pass.

"We're doing very well this season and hopefully we can continue building that for the next couple of seasons," he added. "The work we've put in on the training ground has been massive. I think we're doing well, we're trying our best and I think in the future, we'll continue."

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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