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Antonio Conte ‘wanted’ Man Utd job three years ago and four stars were key to his project

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It did not take long for certain quarters of Manchester United’s fan base to call for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s head after the club’s shock 2-1 Champions League defeat to Young Boys on Tuesday night. Supporters were frustrated with the way United failed to defend and see out the game with 10 men following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s straight red card.

Nonetheless, it’s clear Solskjaer is not currently under pressure although there is an expectancy he must deliver following a near faultless transfer window that saw Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo come through the door.

In the background of that, Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio provided an intriguing update on the future of Antonio Conte.

The former Chelsea boss, who nearly joined Tottenham this summer, is said to be open to the idea of managing United should the opportunity arise.

He wants to win instantly and he feels that would be possible at Old Trafford and not with the likes of Spurs and Arsenal, where a long-term project would be on the cards.

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Antonio Conte wanted the Manchester United job back in 2018 (Image: GETTY)

Yet Conte’s interest in the United job is nothing new and it’s understood he was keen on replacing Jose Mourinho back in 2018 following his dismissal.

Earlier that year, Conte had left Chelsea by mutual consent and he was keen on a quick return to management once the legal side of his departure had been finalised.

The Italian was said to have rejected two approaches from Real Madrid to take over at the Bernabeu and managing in England again remained of huge appeal.

Three years ago, reporter Giovanni Guardala, who has links to Conte, revealed the United job was of huge interest to the manager and there were several players the former Chelsea boss wanted to work with at Old Trafford.

“Conte is going back to London after his holidays,” Guardala said in October 2018.

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“There are many rumours about his future, Real Madrid is tempting him but Manchester United is a team that Conte really likes.

“There are players like Paul Pogba, whom he coached at Juventus. Or Alexis Sanchez, Ander Herrera and Romelu Lukaku, three players he’s always wanted to sign.

“At the moment nothing is decided with Real Madrid.”

Mourinho’s prolonged departure was drawn out for well over two months before United eventually pulled the trigger in December 2018 following a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Conte would not land the job though with the board instead opting for a sentimental appointment in the form of former striker Solskjaer.

Antonio Conte is now said to be eyeing the Man United job again (Image: GETTY)

Romelu Lukaku would have stayed at Man Utd if Antonio Conte landed the job (Image: GETTY)

Now it could well be Conte that replaces the Norwegian, should he be dismissed although he is certainly safe for now.

United’s team could have looked very different under the former Inter Milan boss, who would have built the core of his team around a number of departed players.

In Italy, Conte helped unlock the best version of Lukaku, who helped fire Inter to the Scudetto last season.

The likes of Alexis and Ashley Young also played their part and in typical Conte fashion, he was able to get the best out of players who were deemed spare parts elsewhere, just like Victor Moses at Chelsea.

Besides his winning mentality, Conte’s previous relationship with Pogba at Juventus could prove a huge pull for United if they were to dismiss Solskjaer.

He is the perfect coach to help get the best from the Frenchman and the collection of other superstars at the club, should Solskjaer fail to achieve something special this season…

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