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Chelsea dismiss Antonio Conte speculation

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Antonio Conte still has the trust of Chelsea and is staying as their manager despite sudden speculation he was close to losing his job.

Within minutes of Chelsea announcing a kit deal with Nike that is set to net the club PS900million ($A1.5 billion) over the next 15 years, the focus turned to Italian Conte.

A sustained and heavy gamble was reported on the former Italy and Juventus boss becoming the next Premier League manager to be ousted from his position.

He went from being an outsider in the market to an odds-on favourite with some bookmakers, while others refused to take any more money.

Yet Press Association Sport understands Chelsea remain committed to a future for the team under Conte and were baffled by the suggestion he could be leaving.

The club owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich recruited Conte on a three-year contract that began in July, following his Italy team's Euro 2016 quarter-final penalty shoot-out loss to Germany.

Chelsea have experienced a mixed start to Conte's first season in English football, suffering painful early defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal. With 13 points from seven games, they stand seventh in the table and five points behind leaders Manchester City.

This Saturday sees Chelsea face a fresh test of their credentials when they tackle reigning Premier League champions Leicester at Stamford Bridge in a lunchtime kick-off.

Conte is due to give a press conference on Friday lunchtime, at which the unexpected discussion about his future may be mentioned.

Former Blues boss Claudio Ranieri engineered Leicester's title run last season, but his Foxes side have already been knocked out of the EFL Cup by Conte's Chelsea this term.

The tough fixtures will keep coming and Chelsea must face Manchester United, now managed by another former Blues boss in Jose Mourinho, on Sunday, October 23.

Chelsea won last time out, shaking off a slow start to beat Hull 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium on October 1.

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