Chelsea are looking to withhold a chunk of Antonio Conte's £9m severance pay on the grounds that he negatively affected Diego Costa's transfer value last summer, according to reports.
Conte was dismissed last week after months of speculation surrounding his future at Stamford Bridge, despite having briefly returned to conduct pre season training sessions prior to his sacking and the arrival of new boss Maurizio Sarri.
The Blues are accustomed to signing off on severance packages after parting ways with a number of managers before their contract expired, however Conte has yet to be handed any indication that his compensation is being dealt with.
Earlier reports claimed that the Italian is threatening to take legal action against the Blues due to the length of time it took for the club to sack him, resulting in a potential loss of earnings as he was denied the chance to take a lucrative job elsewhere this summer.
However, Chelsea are prepared to fight their corner and claim that Conte's infamous text message to Costa, which informed the striker he was not wanted, cost the club millions in potential transfer revenue - an act of misconduct, as per The Times.
If Diego is the basis of their argument, then giving Conte a contract extension after that happened isn’t a great move...— Eric David (@EricDavidSports) July 21, 2018
Conte's message to the striker last summer is reported to have been along the lines of: “Hi Diego, Thank you, but you are not in my plans."
The Spain international then failed to make another appearance for Chelsea after going AWOL before securing a return to Atletico Madrid last September.
Chelsea received £57.2m for Costa, but the Blues have claimed that they would have recouped significantly more had Conte not forced a flash sale after the 29-year-old downed tools.
The Italian boss, however, believes his message had no bearing on Costa's transfer as the striker had already been informed of his sale after asking for a transfer on three separate occasions.