Real Madrid have reportedly made contact with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte over the possibility of replacing Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu this summer following the Frenchman's recent exit, only for the Italian to reject the advances.
A report from Marca suggested that Conte emerged as Real's primary target after giving up on trying to get Mauricio Pochettino out of his long-term contract at Tottenham.
A follow up from Gianluca Di Marzio then claimed that initial contact had been established.
But while Conte is expected to not be Chelsea manager come the start of 2018/19, the situation has been rather complicated, as Di Marzio explains.
Conte has not yet been informed of any decision from Chelsea that they want him to leave the club. And with a huge compensation due if he is sacked, the Italian has no desire to quit of his own accord. As far as he sees it, there is still one more year left on his current contract.
However, it would seem that Chelsea would prefer him to be poached. It would free them of the costly £9m expense of having to settle his contract, although their own hunt for a new manager is yet to yield anything concrete after the complications of releasing Maurizio Sarri from Napoli.
Apparently Conte actually has some doubts about coaching Real. It is said that he is concerned the squad, which is now an established group after a third successive Champions League title, would not accept his methods and strict training ground demands.
And those doubts, a report originating from Sky Italia claims, have led him to say no. Instead, he will look to honour his remaining contract at Stamford Bridge. It means Real have to look elsewhere.
One report from AS claims that former Real captain Fernando Hierro, currently a sporting director for the Spanish Federation, is on the radar. He previously returned to the club during the 2014/15 season as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti .
There is also Guti, current Real Madrid Juvenil coach. The retired midfielder and former teammate of both Zidane and Hierro was an early name in the frame and it would appear that him not landing another job, despite being in demand, is a key clue.
Real Murcia was just one club who thought they would be getting Guti on board. But the third tier club's president believes they have lost out to Los Blancos.
"Guti will be the coach of Real Madrid so he won’t coach Murcia," Victor Galvez is quoted as saying by ManagingMadrid.com. "I wish Zidane had stayed for two more days so that we could’ve completed the deal for Guti."