Antonio Conte could be safe from the chop at Chelsea at the season's end even if they reigning champions miss out on a top four finish.
The Premier League holders currently lie five points off fourth-placed Tottenham in the hunt for a Champions League qualification spot, and rumours of Conte's departure have spread if he fails to achieve that objective.
However, the Sun has claimed that the Italian may be kept on by owner Roman Abramovich even if he doesn't finish higher than fifth position - as long as Conte quits his moaning about the club's transfer policy.
Conte has become increasingly vocal throughout the season over which targets the Blues have chased, and has alleged that the board have a greater say in which players are brought to Stamford Bridge.
Despite forking out plenty of cash on new arrivals such as Olivier Giroud, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata, the 48-year-old has questioned Chelsea's ambition and desire to spend money to keep up with the likes of Manchester City.
That has led to suggestions that Chelsea's hierarchy would dispense with Conte's services once this term draws to a close, and that the boss would have no qualms over leaving as he looks to head back to his homeland.
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Speculation had linked Conte with becoming the Italian national team manager for a second time if he were to leave Chelsea, while L'Equipe has stated its belief that Paris Saint-Germain have 'made contact' with the former Juventus head coach.
But a source close to the club has suggested that Abramovich won't be so quick as to fire Conte as soon as this season ends.
The source said: “Roman is not so trigger happy these days when it comes to firing managers. Champions League football is important but not a deal breaker.
“These days Roman wants to give his managers every opportunity. The stress point could be if Antonio starts complaining again. People are growing weary of it all.”
Conte has spent around £180m since he arrived in west London in July 2016, and led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his maiden campaign at the helm.